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Health & Safety Protocols

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Guides to Virtual Court Proceedings

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Best Practices in a Zoom Courtroom

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Court of Appeal for BC
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1. Introduction

This Notice provides directions on filing documents in civil and criminal appeals. Beginning 14 July 2020 this Notice rescinds and replaces the directions described in section 3.2 of the Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal’s Response to Covid-19 dated 7 July 2020.

Beginning 14 July 2020, and despite Rule 54.1(5), all documents in civil appeals must be electronically filedby counsel using Court Services Online (CSO). Paper, fax, or email filings described in Section 3.8 of this notice are permitted only in the following cases:

  • Self-represented litigants, who are encouraged but not required to use the e-filing system;
  • Any civil appeals involving publication bans or sealing orders;
  • Any document in civil chambers that exceeds 300 pages;
  • Any document in a civil appeal larger than 100MB in size;
  • Condensed books filed in advance of the hearing of a civil appeal in accordance with Section 3.6 below;
  • Any other documents as may be directed by the Registrar to be filed in paper in larger appeals where the record exceeds, or is expected to exceed, 8,000 pages.

As e-filing remains unsupported for criminal appeals, any criminal filings must be received in paper, by fax, or by email as described in section 3.8 below.

2. Mandatory e-Filing for Counsel in Civil Appeals

2.1 Getting Started: Obtain a Court Services Online (CSO) Account

Parties who have never used electronic filing must create a BCeID account (either a Basic or Business account) or a BC Online account and register it with Court Services Online. Anyone having difficulty with electronic filing should contact Court Services Online Support either by email Courts.CSO@gov.bc.ca or call toll free within Canada 1-800-663-6102 for assistance. Please do not contact the registry for assistance with electronic filing. The registry will not be able to assist you.

2.2 Formatting Requirements for e-Filed Documents

All documents filed through Court Services Online (CSO) must be in Portable Document Format (PDF) and must comply with the following requirements:

  • Be Less than 100MB in Size: Limitations to the e-filing system do not allow documents larger than 100MB to be filed;
  • True Copies: Provide a legibly reproduced true representation (i.e., an identical or true copy) of the original document, whether that original is scanned from paper or saved into PDF from another program, such as Microsoft Word;
  • Comply with Court Forms: Format documents in accordance with court forms , except for certain paper-based requirements that are dispensed with as described below in Section 2.3;
  • Page Numbered: Number pages so that the PDF page numbering matches the actual page numbering of the document (i.e. PDF page “25” of the electronic appeal book brings up page “25.” To achieve this, do not assign page numbers to the title page, instead assign “page 1” to the first page of argument/content). Place PDF page numbers in the top centre of each page;
  • Avoid Scanning: Only scan documents where necessary. Do not scan factums, submissions or other documents that have been created electronically because hyperlinks will be lost. If scanning is necessary because the original document is in paper, the scan must be Optical Character Recognized (OCR’ed) so that the PDF can be copied and pasted into another document;
  • Do not Enable Security Settings: Do not incorporate any file properties or activate any security settings that might restrict or prevent the Court from viewing, printing, saving, annotating, or searching the electronic document;
  • Hyperlinked Index and PDF Bookmarks: Any indexes prescribed by Court forms must be hyperlinked to the contents of the document. Any document over 50 pages must also include PDF bookmarks. Such bookmarks must consistently, meaningfully, and clearly describe the individual documents or sections of the document. For example, it is not acceptable in an affidavit to bookmark to “Exhibit 1,” Exhibit 2” etc. The index should describe the contents of each section: e.g.: “Exhibit 1 – Letter from John to Jane Doe.” The document must be set to open the bookmarks automatically on opening the file.

There is no requirement to internally hyperlink different filings (i.e. hyperlink a factum to an appeal book)and the e-filing system does not currently support this capability. Case authorities in factums, statements or submissions may continue to be hyperlinked externally (i.e. to pdf versions of CanLII decisions); however, the Court will now also require a complete PDF book of authorities.

Court of Appeal guides for using Adobe DC Pro to meet these requirements are available here. There are also many low-cost or free alternatives to the Adobe software. Additionally, anyone preparing PDF documents to file with the Court of Appeal can email the Canadian Bar Association BC branch at members@cbabc.org for assistance using Adobe software to meet the above requirements.

2.3 Changes to Court Rules and Directivesfor e-Filed Documents

This Notice changes several rules and requirements related to service and filing for civil appeals. All requirements set out in the Court of Appeal Rules and Practice Directives that cannot be met when documents are filed electronically, (e.g. requirements to file copies of documents, or to bind documents like the factum in specific ways) are suspended. For greater certainty, the following requirements are suspended:

  • Volumes: There is no need to split files less than 100 megabytes into 300/200 page “volumes.” For example, a book of authorities should be a sequentially numbered single PDF file of less than 100MB, not split into multiple 200 page files;
  • Use Alternative Forms of Signature: Except for affidavits, orders, and statutory declarations, documents filed solely with a typewritten signature (e.g., "Joan Smith") satisfy the signature requirement. Alternatively, scanned signatures are acceptable for all documents, including affidavits, orders and statutory declarations;
  • No Transcript Extract Books: Do not file a Transcript Extract Book under Rule 27. The parties mustuse the condensed book process described in section 3.6 below;
  • No Coloured Covers: Coloured covers of books or documents are not required;
  • Limited Retention of Paper Versions: The requirement to retain the paper version of the document submitted electronically under Rules 54.1 (6), (7), or (9) is modified. If the party can prove, to the satisfaction of the Court, that the record has been securely kept in electronic format (such as PDF/A), the party only needs to retain the electronic version.

In addition, the following Practice Directives do not apply to electronic filings:

3. Limitations and Exceptions to E-Filing

3.1 Optional E-Filing for Self-Represented Litigants

Self-represented litigants are encouraged to electronically file their records in accordance with the terms of this directive. However, self represented litigants may also file using the methods described insection 3.8. Access Pro-Bono has a dedicated appeals program. If you require assistance contact Heather Wojcik 604-424-8286. You can also visit www.accessprobono.ca or call 604-878-7400 or 1-877-762-6664 to find out more information about Access Pro-Bono emergency telephone clinics that have been set up in response to COVID-19.

3.2 No e-Filing in Criminal Appeals

Court Services Online (CSO) is presently unable to accept criminal appeals for electronic filing. File using the methods described in section 3.8.

3.3 Limited e-Filing in Civil Appeals Involving Publication Bans or Sealing Orders

Parties may optionally file the Notice of Appeal or Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal electronically using Court Services Online (CSO). Include a letter within the e-filing package that describes the exact nature of any publication bans or sealing orders (as required by Publication Bans and Sealing Orders (Civil Practice Directive, 4 June 2018)). However, all subsequent filings must use the methods described in section 3.8 below.

3.4 No e-Filing for Documents that Exceed 300 Pages in Civil Chambers

No document may be electronically filed in chambers if that document exceeds 300 pages. If the document exceeds this size, it must be filed in paper (in person or by courier/agent) in accordance with Section 3.8 below.

3.5 No e-Filing Documents Exceeding 100MB in Civil Appeals

Court Services Online (CSO) has a 100MB limit on the size of electronically filed documents. This size limitation will cover about 80% of the Court’s electronic filings. If the document is larger than 100 MB, the material cannot be electronically filed and must be submitted in paper in accordance with Section 3.8 below. Do not attempt to file multiple volumes of a document through the e-filing system or file a portion electronically and a portion in paper. For larger appeals in excess of 8,000 pages, see Section 4 below.

3.6 Mandatory Condensed Books in Civil Appeals

For civil appeals where factums, transcripts, or appeal books have been e-filed, parties must file paper copies of a condensed book for the Court to use in the appeal hearing in accordance with Section 3.8 below.

Parties should file three (3) copies and serve their condensed books on the opposing parties at least seven (7) business days before the hearing of the appeal. The requirement in Condensed Books (Civil & Criminal Practice Directive, 19 September 2011) that they be handed up in Court is dispensed with. The Condensed Book may contain documents essential to the hearing, but only those that must be physically shown to the Court, including those excerpts from transcript, appeal book and authorities that the party will refer to in its oral argument.

3.7 Limitations on e-Filing of Electronic Media in Civil Appeals (Soundand Video Exhibits)

Occasionally, there may be a need to include electronic media in appeal books, such as audio or video recordings. The process for doing this with paper filings is described in Electronic Media in Appeal Books (Civil & Criminal Practice Directive, 13 May 2016). Presently, the e-filing system will not allow parties to embed multimedia within PDF documents. Accordingly, parties must indicate in the appeal book index that electronic media is being submitted separately and must submit the related electronic media by providing four identical memory sticks (labeled with the appeal file number #CAXXXXX). These may be submitted in accordance with Section 3.8 below.

3.8 Fax, Paper,and Email Filings (Only Where Permitted by Sections 3.1 –3.7)

For those exceptions outlined in sections 3.1 to 3.7 only, parties may file documents in the following ways:

  • By Fax: In the case of filings that are less than 20 pages, by fax in accordance with Use of Facsimile in the Court of Appeal (Civil & Criminal Practice Directive, 19 September 2011), with the understanding that the prohibition on filing bound materials does not apply;
  • By Email: For Factums, statements, transcripts, appeal records, and appeal books only, by sending PDF copies less than 25MB by e-mail to CACounter@bccourts.ca. Any emailed documents must observe all requirements in Section 2.2 above, including those filed by self-represented litigants.
  • Paper Copies in Person or by Mail/Courier/Agent: Please check here to determine whether the registry counter is open for business or closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. If the registry counter is open, documents must be filed at 400 – 800 Hornby Street. If the Registry counter is closed, documents must be filed at 206 - 800 Smithe Street. Note the registry may not process these filings for at least 24 hours, given COVID-19 risks, but will backdate documents to the date they were postmarked or delivered. Please do not deliver any copies besides those required by the Court. You will receive an email attaching a scan of the stamped cover page as confirmation that the document is filed and, for that purpose, you must provide an email address on the cover of the document to be filed. You should serve the remaining copies of your document together with a copy of the stamped cover page.

4. Case Management of Larger Appeals

If an appeal involves, or is anticipated to involve, more than 8,000 pages of material, parties must seek directions from the Registrar as soon as possible and not less than 90 days prior to the hearing of the appeal.

5. Registry Contact Information

General Inquiries: 604.660.2468
Maria Littlejohn, Court Scheduler: 604.660.2865
Manjit Gunglay, Chambers Scheduler: 604.660.2859
Kristine Dhamrait, Registrar Scheduler: 604.660.2729
Fax filings: 604.660.1951

Mail or Courier to the Vancouver Registry (check here to see if the Registry is open or closed during regular hours)

If the Registry Counter is open:

BC Court of Appeal
The Law Courts
400 – 800 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6Z 2C5

If the Registry Counter is closed due to COVID-19:

BC Court of Appeal
The Law Courts
206 - 800 Smithe Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6Z 2E1

Dated 7 July 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Robert J. Bauman
Chief Justice of British Columbia

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This Notice replaces the Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19 issued 24 June 2020. It describes the process for requesting in-courtroom or Zoom hearings; and it extends the suspension of service and filing deadlines from 13 July to 27 July 2020.

1. Introduction

On 17 March 2020, 30 March 2020, 20 April 2020, and 27 May 2020, the Chief Justice of British Columbia issued directions modifying the operations of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia to protect the health of litigants, court staff, judges and members of the public and to help contain the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

This new notice, which applies to civil and criminal appeals, replaces the 17 March, 30 March, 20 April, 27 May, 10 June and 24 June notices, and provides new information regarding requests for hearings to take place in a courtroom and the suspension of service and filing deadlines. In particular:

1.1 Suspension of service and filing deadlines

The suspension of service and filing deadlines for existing appeals and chambers applications started 18 March 2020 and has been extended from 13 July 2020 to 27 July 2020.

1.2 Requests for in-courtroom or video hearings

Parties may now request that their appeal hearing proceed in a courtroom or by Zoom videoconference. Please see 3.3 below for more information.

1.3 Continuation of court operations

Despite the suspension of service and filing deadlines being extended until 27 July 2020, the following information has not changed:

  • The registry is accepting filings in all matters, and parties are encouraged to advance their appeals if they are able to do so.
  • In civil appeals, electronic filing remains mandatory for counsel and optional for self-represented litigants. Beginning 14 July 2020, section 3.2 below will be repealed and replaced with the updated instructions on filing materials in all appeals and applications provided in this new Notice to the Public Regarding Modified Filing Directions.
  • The Court will hear all chambers applications and Registrar’s appointments, including those that are not urgent, by teleconference or in writing. For all new chambers applications or appointments, litigants must file and serve materials according to the timelines required under the Court of Appeal Act, Court of Appeal Rules, Criminal Code, the Court of Appeal Criminal Rules and the Court’s Civil and Criminal Practice Directives.

2. New Appeals and Applications for Leave to Appeal

2.1 Required Time Periods to Commence Civil or Family Proceedings

The required time periods to commence civil or family proceedings stopped running on 26 March 2020. For further details review Ministerial Order No. M098. This means that until further notice you may start an appeal if you wish to do so, but, if you are unable to start an appeal, you can wait without concern that the limitation period to start civil or family proceedings will expire.

The suspension of time periods started on 26 March 2020 and will remain in effect until the state of emergency declared under s. 9(1) of the Emergency Program Act on 18 March 2020 expires or is cancelled. This means that any notice of appeal or application for leave to appeal that needed to be filed before 26 March 2020 is still subject to the usual timeline to initiate, including those that needed to be filed between 18 March 2020 and 26 March 2020.

2.2 Required Time Periods to Commence Criminal Proceedings

Parties should continue to file and serve notices of appeal or applications for leave to appeal in criminal matters within required time periods.

3.Existing Appeals and Applications

3.1 Filing and Service Deadlines

The filing and service deadlines for all existing appeals, existing applications for leave to appeal, and other existing matters before the Court were suspended by direction of the Chief Justice and they will remain suspended until 27 July 2020. This means that the required time periods to file or serve materials stopped running on 18 March 2020 and will not start to run again until 27 July 2020. Beginning 27 July 2020 you will have the same amount of time to file and serve materials as you would have been entitled to on 18 March 2020.

For clarity, the Chief Justice has further directed that the operation of s. 25 of the Court of Appeal Act is also suspended from 18 March 2020 until 27 July 2020, meaning that matters will not be placed on the inactive list or dismissed as abandoned by operation of s. 25 during this period.

Neither the direction of the Chief Justice effective 18 March 2020 nor Ministerial Order No. M098 suspends the timelines for taking a step required by court order or direction. However, counsel/litigants can expect the Court will likely consider the exceptional circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor if an extension is sought.

Despite the suspension of deadlines until 27 July 2020, the registry is accepting filings in all matters, including matters that are not urgent. Parties are encouraged to advance their appeals and to communicate with one another on how they will proceed.

3.2 How to File Documents and Materials

**Beginning 14 July 2020 all information in section 3.2 of this Notice will be repealed and replaced with the court’s Notice to the Public Regarding Modified Filing Directions in Civil and Criminal Appeals. If you are preparing materials that will be filed after 14 July 2020 please refer to the new notice for instructions **

3.2.1 The Filing of Documents in Civil Appeals

All parties must use electronic filing through Court Services Online (CSO) for all documents in civil appeals except those discussed below. For clarity, the Court will not accept filings by fax, mail or courier 4 in civil appeals, unless the document cannot be electronically filed or submitted by email as described below.

Despite Rule 54.1(5), the only documents that the Court will continue to receive outside of the e-filing system, or by email as described below, will be:

  1. a motion book;
  2. a reply book;
  3. an appeal record;
  4. an appeal book;
  5. a form of order submitted for entry.

Please do not contact the registry for assistance with electronic filing, as the registry will not be able to help. Parties who have never used electronic filing can initiate the process by signing up for BasicBCeID at https://www.bceid.ca/. Anyone having difficulty with electronic filing can email Courts.CSO@gov.bc.ca or call toll free within Canada 1-800-663-6102 for assistance.

For all material filed by any electronic means (Court Services Online, email, or on memory stick):

  • The use of coloured covers and any requirements for tabs will be dispensed with.
  • Filings must be in proper court forms, be legibly scanned, in PDF, and in Arial 12-Point font.
  • Scanned filings must be OCR’ed (i.e. use Optical Character Recognition so that the PDF can be copied and pasted from into another document).

To File Memorandums of Argument and Books of Authority: These documents must be electronically filed through Court Services Online. However, books of authorities are only to be filed where a party cannot hyperlink in their submission or factum an authority to an open source, such as CanLII or Lexum. Books of authorities may not exceed 10MB in size. Any memorandum of argument must observe the three-page limit set in Filing Written Argument in Court of Appeal Chambers (Civil Practice Note, 1 March 2012).

To File Factums and Transcripts: Parties must now file factums and transcripts by submitting them via e-mail to appealrecords@bccourts.ca and the requirement to file a paper copy is suspended. You will receive an email attaching a scan of the stamped cover page as confirmation that the document is filed. The requirement to file transcript extract books in civil appeals is suspended. The formatting and naming requirements in the Court’s directive, Submission of Electronic Factums and Statements (Civil & Criminal Practice Directive, 2 July 2019) must be followed both for factums and for transcripts (by analogy). Hyperlinks to open-source authorities are required, as discussed above.

To File Motion Books, Reply Books, Appeal Records, Appeal Books, and Orders: For filing these documents, parties have two options:

  1. They may file by fax if the document is 20 or fewer pages, and otherwise meets the requirements set out in the practice directive on Use of the Facsimile in the Court of Appeal. The prohibition in this directive on filing bound materials is suspended.
  2. Paper copies or memory sticks containing electronic copies of these filings may be mailed or couriered to 206 – 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver British Columbia, V6Z 2E1, Attention: Court of Appeal Registry. Please note that the registry will not process these filings for 24 hours, given COVID-19 risks, but will backdate documents to the date they were postmarked or delivered. Please do not deliver any copies besides those required by the Court. You will receive an email attaching a scan of the stamped cover page as confirmation that the document is filed and, for that purpose, you must provide an email address on the cover of the document to be filed. You should serve the remaining copies of your document together with a copy of the stamped cover page.

If none of these options are possible, please call the registry at the phone numbers listed below in Part 5 of this Notice.

3.2.2 The Filing of Documents in Criminal Appeals

To File Factums, Transcripts, and Statements: Factums, transcripts, and statements must be filed in accordance with the directions above in section 3.2.1 that apply to factums and transcripts in civil appeals.

To File Books of Authority: Despite the fact that e-filing is not yet available for criminal appeals, the requirements that apply to books of authority in civil appeals apply also in criminal appeals: they do not need to be filed unless the factum, statement, or written submission cannot by hyperlinked to open source authorities.

To File All Other Documents: For other documents in criminal appeals that cannot be submitted electronically as above, the parties have two options:

  1. They may file by fax if the document is 20 or fewer pages, and otherwise meets the requirements set out in the practice directive on Use of the Facsimile in the Court of Appeal. The prohibition in this directive on filing bound materials is suspended.
  2. Paper copies or memory sticks containing electronic copies of these filings may be mailed or couriered to 206 – 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver British Columbia, V6Z 2E1, Attention: Court of Appeal Registry. Please note that the registry will not process these filings for 24 hours, given COVID-19 risks, but will backdate documents to the date they were postmarked or delivered. Please do not deliver any copies besides those required by the Court. You will receive an email attaching a scan of the stamped cover page as confirmation that the document is filed and, for that purpose, you must provide an email address on the cover of the document to be filed. You should serve the remaining copies of your document together with a copy of the stamped cover page.

If none of these options are possible, please call the registry at the phone numbers listed below in Part 5 of this Notice to discuss other options.

3.2.3 Future Enhancements to the E-Filing System

The government e-filing system is being enhanced by the Court Services Branch to allow for as many documents as possible to be filed through Court Services Online (CSO).

Please check back for further notices, as the requirements for those documents that presently cannot be e-filed may change rapidly.

3.3 Appeal Hearings

Since early April, the Court has conducted most appeals by video conference. As of 14 July 2020, however, the Court can accommodate appeal hearings in the courtroom or by video conference subject to the limitations explained below. The parties may also consent to have their appeal conducted solely in writing by submitting a request to the Registrar indicating their consent.

The Court appreciates that during the COVID 19 pandemic the preference of counsel/litigant(s) as to mode of hearing may relate to personal circumstances. The Court does not generally wish to play a role in deciding between the alternatives, although the Court may exercise its discretion to direct the mode of hearing.

3.3.1 Court Proceedings Form - Preferred Mode of Hearing

In order to permit efficient scheduling, the Court requires that at least seven days before an appeal hearing, counsel/litigant(s) file a “Court Proceedings Form” described below. Before completing the Form counsel/litigants are encouraged to consult and reach consensus on the mode of hearing to be selected.

Where one counsel/litigant would prefer a video hearing, no reason need be disclosed to the Registry or to the other counsel/litigant(s); in this instance, regardless of whether consensus has been reached, the Court will allow the hearing to proceed by video conference absent extraordinary circumstances.

Where all litigants would prefer an in-courtroom hearing, the Court will allow the hearing to proceed in person unless social distancing guidelines cannot be met or unless there are other factors that make an in-courtroom hearing unsuitable or impractical.

Counsel/litigants must submit the Court Proceedings Form to advise the Court:

  1. the preferred mode of hearing (in-courtroom or video);
  2. who will be attending the hearing;
  3. for video hearings, any concerns about the privacy or confidentiality of information that will be involved in the video proceeding;
  4. for video hearings, any personal concerns about attending by video; and
  5. for video hearings, proposed steps to mitigate any of the concerns identified. At the appeal hearing, counsel/litigants must expect to address the nature and terms of any publication bans or sealing orders (including who is subject to such orders).

3.3.2 Hearings in a Courtroom

The Court has made adjustments to the physical facilities at the courthouse to ensure hearings will comply with public safety guidelines. At this time, all hearings in a courtroom will take place in courtrooms 50 or 60 with a maximum of four lawyers or self-represented litigants attending at one time. Parties should be aware that because of social distancing guidelines, usually no more than seven observers may beaccommodated in the courtroom.

Counsel/litigant(s) are asked to advise the registry immediately if unexpected circumstances related to the COVID-19 virus arise prior to the hearing, such that a counsel/litigant prefers a switch to a video conference hearing. No reason need be provided to the Registry and the Court will endeavor to accommodate such a switch. A request for such accommodation should be made as early as possible but may be made right up until the morning of the hearing.

Persons in the courtroom are not required to wear masks, but everyone may of course do so, except when addressing the Court at the hearing. Counsel/litigants must bring their own water supply and present their arguments from their own table (individual lecterns will be provided). Furniture will be cleaned and disinfected between hearings.

The Court Services Branch has developed health and safety protocols which apply to all public spaces of the courthouse. All people attending are asked to be familiar with these protocols and to cooperate in observing them.

3.3.3 Video Conference Hearings

Video conference hearings will proceed using Zoom, a commercial service that has been employed successfully in conducting hearings in other Canadian courts. Instructions on videoconference logistics and Court etiquette are provided in this Notice to the Public regarding video conference proceedings. Parties will be expected to become familiar and test their video and audio capabilities using the Zoom platform before any court hearing.

3.3.4 Access to Hearings

Members of the media or public wishing to access hearing in a courtroom or by video conference, should see the Notice to the Public regarding access to court proceedings.

3.4 Chambers Hearings

All chambers applications will proceed by teleconference unless otherwise directed. For all new chambers applications, counsel/litigants must file and serve materials according to the timelinesrequired under the Court of Appeal Act, Court of Appeal Rules, Criminal Code, the Court of Appeal Criminal Rules and the Court’s Civil and Criminal Practice Directives. Chambers applications may also proceed in writing by approval of the Court on consent request addressed to the Registrar.

The Court’s capacity to hear a full chambers list may remain compromised. As such:

  • Counsel/litigants should coordinate with one another before filing a chambers application and should be prepared to meet all subsequent filing and service deadlines set out in the Court of Appeal Act and Rules.
  • Counsel/l itigants must check the online list of available dates before filing a chambers application in accordance with Booking Civil Chambers Applications (Civil Practice Note, 8 May 2017), and should check again just before e-filing.
  • Counsel/litigants should be patient with the occasional need to re-book chambers applications to other dates, given expected demands. The chambers scheduler, as a Deputy Registrar, has the final say on the reassignment of dates, if necessary (no appeals to the Registrar).Given the need to conduct chambers matters by teleconference and get materials to the presiding judge, the late filing of chambers materials will not be permitted.

3.5 Hearings before the Registrar

All hearings set to proceed before the Registrar will proceed by Zoom, teleconference, in writing, or as directed by the Registrar. As with chambers, for all new appointments, counsel/litigants must file and serve materials according to the timelines required under the Court of Appeal Act and Court of Appeal Rules, Criminal Code, Court of Appeal Criminal Rules,and the Court’s Civil and Criminal Practice Directives. Counsel/litigants may also request or consent to an appointment being heard in writing only.

4. Self-Represented Litigants

Self-represented litigants are expected to comply with the modified processes set out in this notice.

Access Pro-Bono has a dedicated appeals program. If you require assistance contact Heather Wojcik 604-424-8286. You can also visit accessprobono.ca or call 604-878-7400 or 1-877-762-6664 to find out more information about Access Pro-Bono emergency telephone clinics that have been set up in response to COVID-19.

Additionally, anyone e-filing materials in the Court of Appeal or preparing to appear before the Court by Zoom video conference may contact the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch at members@cbabc.org for technical support with managing PDF Adobe or Zoom video conference software.

5. Registry Contact Information

General Inquiries: 604.660.2468
Maria Littlejohn, Court Scheduler: 604.660.2865
Manjit Gunglay, Chambers Scheduler: 604.660.2859
Kristine Dhamrait, Registrar Scheduler: 604.660.2729
Fax filings: 604.660.1951

Mail or Courier: Vancouver Registry

The Registry Counter will be open unless required to be closed in particular COVID-19-related circumstances. Before attending at the Registry Counter, please check HERE to confirm whether it is open or closed.

If the Registry Counter is open:

BC Court of Appeal
The Law Courts
400 – 800 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6Z 2C5

If the Registry Counter is closed due to COVID-19:

BC Court of Appeal
The Law Courts
206 - 800 Smithe Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6Z 2E1

Dated 7 July 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Robert J. Bauman
Chief Justice of British Columbia

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Note: this Notice replaces the Notice to the Public Regarding Access to Court Proceedings During the COVID-19 Pandemic dated 14 May 2020

Introduction

In the 7 July 2020 Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal's Response to COVID-19, Chief Justice Bauman directed that, beginning 13 July 2020, the Court of Appeal will be in a position to hear all appeals by video conference or in the courtroom, in consideration of the preference of the litigants/counsel, unless social distancing guidelines cannot be met or unless there are other factors that make an in-courtroom hearing unsuitable or impractical. All chambers applications and Registrar’sappointments will continue to be conducted by teleconference or in writing, unless otherwise directed.

The Court of Appeal is taking the following steps to ensure that accredited media and other members of the public have access to, and can observe, court proceedings during this exceptional time. The Court of Appeal is committed to the open court principle and will be examining additional steps to ensure all members of the media and public can access Court proceedings. The Court asks for patience as it works to fulfill its appellate function and Constitutional functions while adopting new technology and procedures.

Access to Video and Teleconference Proceedings

The Court’s weekly hearing list and chambers list are updated daily and indicate which matters areproceeding by video conference, in the courtroom or by teleconference.

Access to Video Conference Proceedings

To observe matters proceeding by video conference click on the public link provided on the Court’s weekly hearing list. This will allow you to join the video conference as an observer live from your device. Note that the public link may not be posted until the morning the video conference is set to proceedand, if you do not already have the Zoom application downloaded on your device, you can follow the prompts to install it, or join the meeting over the web. In order to maintain appropriate decorum during a video conference proceeding, the judges and the people making submissions to the court will not be able to see or hear the people observing.

Access to Hearings in the Courtroom

To observe matters proceeding in the courtroom, check the Court’s weekly hearing list or on the bulletin board in the lobby at 800 Smithe. The lists will indicate the name of the proceeding, the mode of hearingand, if applicable, the courtroom number.

The Court has made adjustments to the physical facilities in the courtrooms to ensure hearings will comply with public safety guidelines. At this time, all in-courtroom hearings will take place in courtrooms 50 or 60. Anyone wishing to observe a hearing in a courtroom should be aware that because of social distancing guidelines, usually no more than seven observers may be accommodated at one time. For appeals anticipated to draw a large number of observers, the Court will consider proceeding by videoconference in order to ensure people wishing to observe are able to do so.

The Court Services Branch has developed health and safety protocols which apply to all public spaces of the courtroom. All people attending are asked to be familiar with these protocols and to cooperate in observing them.

Access to Teleconference Proceedings

To observe matters proceeding by teleconference submit a Request to Attend Teleconference Proceedings no later than 12 noon the day before the hearing date. Late requests cannot be processed in time to respond with the dial-in information you will need.

The number of callers that can be connected through a single teleconference number is limited and priority will be given to parties to the proceeding and members of accredited media. More than one person may listen to the proceeding from a single phone.

Note that counsel are permitted to share connection details with their co-counsel and clients if they will be listening from separate phones, however, connection details should not be shared with anyone else. Counsel are asked to inform the registry if they require connections for more than 10 separate telephones.

In order to maintain appropriate decorum during a teleconference proceeding you must dial into the teleconference at the set time. The court will not disrupt ongoing proceedings to connect you. Additionally, anyone observing must mute their microphone so as to limit the possibility of disruptions from background noise.

Policy on use of electronic devices in courtrooms

The Court's Policy on the use of electronic devices in courtrooms applies to all court proceedings including those conducted remotely by video or teleconference. This means that members of accredited media may audio record proceedings for the limited purpose of verifying their notes. Any other audio or video recording of the proceeding including screen shots or other photographs is prohibited. Anyone who uses an electronic device in a manner prohibited by the policy is subject to sanction, including prosecution for contempt of court.

Media Participation in Court Proceedings

In any appeals where the media wishes to make submissions, such as where a publication ban is opposed or challenged, accommodations for participation will be arranged in the same manner as for other parties, detailed in the Court’s Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal's Response to COVID-19 dated 7 July 2020.

Media Access to Digital Audio Recordings (DARS)

Any requests for access to court audio recordings (post-hearing) by accredited media should be made by completing the usual access to audio request form and attaching a remote access to DARS undertaking to the automatically generated email before submitting the request. Requests will be processed by Court Services Branch personnel in the usual manner. If access is granted the requestor will receive an email confirmation and a link to a digital FTP site to remotely access the requested audio recording.

Access to Court Records

The Court will continue processing requests for access to the court record in the usual manner as prescribed under the Court of Appeal’s Record and Courtroom Access Policy.

Dated 7 July 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Robert J. Bauman
Chief Justice of British Columbia

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Note: this Notice replaces the Notice to the Public Regarding Videoconference Proceedings in the Court of Appeal dated 29 April 2020

1. Introduction

This Notice provides information for anyone who will appear before the Court of Appeal for a video conference hearing. For more details on how the Court of Appeal is operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, see the Notice to the Public regarding the Court of Appeal’s response to COVID-19 dated 7 July 2020.

A step-by-step guide to appearing in a Zoom video conference proceeding is attached below. It contains detailed information about the video conference hearing process and what to do if there are technological issues during the hearing. Review the guide carefully in advance of your hearing.

2. Video Conference Appeal Hearings – Process

Step 1: Complete and Submit the Court Proceedings Form

If you are counsel or a self-represented litigant in an appeal hearing, you must complete and submit the Court Proceedings Form at least 7 days before the hearing to tell the Court your preferred mode of hearing (in-courtroom or video conference), and to tell the Court about who will be attending the video hearing, any concerns about privacy or confidentiality involved, proposed steps to mitigate those concerns, and any other personal concerns that may require accommodation. At the appeal hearing, counsel/litigants must expect to address the nature and terms of any publication bans or sealing orders (including who is subject to such orders).

Step 2: Prepare to Video Conference using Zoom

Attached below is a guide on how to download the Zoom application and prepare for a videoconference hearing. Before the date of your hearing you must check that your webcam, speakers, and any headphones or earphones that you intend to use are working properly. You must also familiarize yourself with the mute/unmute and start/stop functions in a Zoom meeting.

Step 3: Join the Video Conference

The day before the hearing, the Court of Appeal registry will post a public link for the video hearing on the Court’s weekly hearing list. Check the time that your hearing is scheduled to begin, some appeals may be scheduled to begin after 10:00 am. About five minutes before the hearing is set to begin, Counsel/litigants should click on the link and follow the directions in the guide below. A few minutes before the hearing begins the Court Clerk will call forward Counsel/self represented litigants from the viewing “gallery” using the names provided on the Court Proceedings Form.

Anyone who wishes to observe a video hearing can click the same public link. More information about public access to video hearings is provided in the Notice to the Public Regarding Access to Court Proceedings During COVID-19, dated July 7, 2020.

3. Video Conference Hearing Etiquette and Decorum

To the extent that this Notice differs from the Practice Directive (Civil and Criminal) on Appearing before the Court, the Court of Appeal Rules, the Court of Appeal Criminal Rules, or any other civil or criminal Practice Directive, this Notice prevails.

The Chief Justice directs that certain aspects of hearing etiquette and decorum required for in-courtroom hearings are modified for videoconference hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular:

  • Attire: Lawyers or litigants who will make submissions to the Court should wear business attire. Lawyers should not gown, but must dress as they would for an in-courtroom chambers matter. Judges will gown.
  • Sitting and Standing: Participants are not required to stand when the video hearing commences or ends, or when they are addressing the Court.
  • Bowing: Participants are not required to bow at any time during the video hearing.
  • Decorum: The Court understands that participants do not have the advantage of appearing in a controlled courtroom environment and may be situated in small, shared living spaces. Participants should make reasonable efforts to find a quiet, private space with a neutral background to make their submissions. However, the Court anticipates and understands that there may be some unavoidable interruptions from children, pets, other people or background noises.

The Chief Justice also directs that participants observe the following rules of etiquette specific to video hearings:

  • Mute microphone: To minimize background noise, all participants must mute their microphones when they are not speaking. The attached guide includes instructions on how to mute and unmute your microphone.
  • Pause for questions and avoid speaking over others during the hearing: Pause frequently during your submissions to allow the Court to ask questions and avoid speaking over the Court or other hearing participants.

Dated 7 July 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Robert J. Bauman
Chief Justice of British Columbia

Download the full Notice with Appendices

Supreme Court of BC

Message to Members

In case you missed it, the Supreme Court of British Columbia is proceeding with judge-alone trials and most chambers matters (among other proceedings). The government has advised that registries will be accessible as of July 13, 2020. There are courtrooms available. There are judges available. There are phone lines available. If you have a trial that does not currently have a scheduled date, and counsel and the litigants are ready to proceed, you are encouraged to contact your registry's trial scheduler to advise that you are ready to proceed and your request will be considered by the Chief Justice.

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COVID-19 Notice No. 36
Date: July 10, 2020

On March 19, 2020 the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The Court has gradually resumed some regular operations, including trials, chambers applications and other hearings and conferences, many of which proceed remotely.

Effective July 13, 2020, parties may book Case Planning Conferences (CPCs) in accordance with the process set out in the Supreme Court Civil Rules, as modified in this notice. Until further notice, all CPCs, including the first CPC held in an action, will proceed by telephone unless the court otherwise orders. See the Court’s order dated July 10, 2020 found here.

At any time after the pleading period has expired, a party of record to an action may request a CPC by obtaining a date and time from Supreme Court Scheduling at the registry where the file is located. Available dates are posted online here.

A party of record must file a notice of case planning conference in Form 19 with the modifications below. Form 19 must:

  • identify that the CPC is being heard by telephone; and
  • include email addresses and telephone numbers for all parties, which the registry may use to contact the parties to confirm telephone conferencing information.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated July 10, 2020 at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 34
Date: revised July 10, 2020

Highlighted change:

  • COVID-19 Telephone Conference Hearings, which were established for civil and family matters that had been scheduled to be heard between March 19 and May 29, were not urgent or essential, and met certain other criteria (as per COVID-19 Notice No. 13), are no longer available. The Court will continue to hear other matters by telephone, including Judicial Case Conferences, Chambers applications, Trial Management Conferences, Case Planning Conferences, and Registrar’s hearings.

Effective July 13, 2020, this notice replaces the following notices:

  • COVID-19 Notice No. 1 – Changes to Courtroom Procedures for In-Person Court Appearances
  • COVID-19 Notice No. 8 – Notice of Suspension of Regular Court Operations, revised April 16, 2020
  • COVID-19 Notice No. 13 – Expansion of Civil and Family Matters – Telephone Conference Hearings
  • COVID-19 Notice No. 15 – Suspension of Regular Court Operations – Insolvency Matters
  • COVID-19 Notice No. 25 – Resumption of Further Court Operations

Effective July 13, 2020, this notices modifies the following notices:

  • COVID-19 Notice No. 14 – Applications by Written Submission
  • COVID-19 Notice No. 28 – Resumption of Further Court Operations – Chambers Applications

Introduction

Effective March 19, 2020 and until further notice, the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Court has gradually resumed some regular operations, including trials, chambers applications and other hearings and conferences, many of which proceed remotely. While the Court has expanded the scope of its in-person operations, counsel, parties, litigants and members of the public are discouraged from attending courthouses unless their personal attendance is necessary or the Court so directs. This will help minimize the overall number of people in courthouses.

Effective July 13, 2020, in-person registry services will resume at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia (see Part I for details). In addition, the interim processes that the Court established for: (i) requesting a hearing of an urgent or essential matter, and (ii) scheduling a COVID-19 Telephone Conference Hearing for matters that are not urgent or essential and meet certain other criteria will no longer be available (see Part II for details).

Information about in-person registry services and changes to the Court’s processes are set out below.

I. REGISTRY SERVICES

All Supreme Court registries will be open for in-person services on July 13, 2020. As of that date, parties may file materials at the registry.

While in-person filing is available, parties are strongly encouraged to use e-filing, or one of the other methods set out below:

  • E-filing using Court Services Online. Court Service Online will allow e-filing through the use of a Basic BCeID account. More information can be found here;
  • Fax Filing at a registry designated as a fax filing registry by Supreme Court Civil Rule 23-2 or Supreme Court Family Rule 22-3. See Appendix A for a list of fax filing registries and the fax numbers; and
  • Mailing to any Supreme Court registry. Contact information for all Supreme Court registries is available here.

Anyone attending at the courthouse must review the directions in COVID-19 Notice No. 27 – In Court Measures During the Pandemic prior to arrival.

I. REQUESTS FOR URGENT OR ESSENTIAL HEARINGS AND COVID-19 TELEPHONE CONFERENCE HEARINGS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE​

The Court established the Request for Urgent Hearing process for civil and family matters (COVID-19 Notice No. 8) and insolvency matters (COVID-19 Notice No. 15) to facilitate access to the Court while registries were not providing in-person services.

Effective July 13, 2020, the Request for Urgent Hearing process for civil, family and insolvency matters will no longer be available. Parties who have emergency applications should follow the processes set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 28 – Chambers Applications and the Supreme Court Civil Rules or the Supreme Court Family Rules, and:

The Court established the COVID-19 Telephone Conference Hearing process for civil and family matters that had been scheduled to be heard between March 19 and May 29, were not urgent or essential, and met certain other criteria (COVID-19 Notice No. 13). In light of the Court’s expanded operations, effective July 13, 2020, the Telephone Conference Hearing process for civil and family matters that was set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 13 will no longer be available.

The Court will continue to hear other matters by telephone, including Judicial Case Conferences, Chambers applications, Trial Management Conferences, Case Planning Conferences, and Registrar’s hearings.

II. OTHER COVID-19 PROCESSES ARE STILL AVAILABLE

During the suspension of the Court’s regular operations, the Court established interim processes to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to hear matters by telephone and written submissions. A list of the Court’s current processes and notices is available here.

Effective July 13, 2020, the following COVID-19 processes are modified as set out below:

A. COVID-19 Notice No. 14 - Applications by Written Submissions

For family law matters, parties are no longer automatically relieved of the requirement to attend a Judicial Case Conference (JCC) before making an application by written submissions. Instead, Rule 7-1(2) of the Supreme Court Family Rules applies, meaning a party must not make an application by written submissions until a JCC has been conducted. Exceptions to this rule and the process by which a party can apply to be relieved of this requirement are set out under Rules 7-1(3) to 7-1(6) of the Supreme Court Family Rules.

The court will continue to hear JCCs by telephone, unless the court otherwise directs. The process for setting a JCC is set out in Part IV of this notice.

B. COVID-19 Notice No. 28 – Resumption of Further Court Operations - Chambers Applications

Timelines for Delivering Application Record to Registry

For chambers applications, applicants are no longer required to provide the application record to the registry no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for hearing. Instead, the usual timeframes in the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules apply, meaning applicants must submit the application record to the registry where the hearing is to take place no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before the date set for hearing.

Timelines for Serving Application Record Index on Respondents

Applicants are no longer required to serve an application record index on each respondent no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for hearing. Instead, the usual timeframes in the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules apply, meaning applicants must serve a copy of the application record index on each respondent no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before the date set for hearing.

III. CIVIL AND FAMILY MATTERS

A. Trials

All civil and family trials scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020 have resumed unless the Court otherwise directs. The resumption of civil and family trials may be subject to change as a result of limitations on available facilities or public health recommendations.

B. Jury Selections and Jury Trials

All civil jury selections and jury trials are cancelled up to and including September 7, 2020, everywhere in the province.

For civil matters where a jury notice has been filed and served, if all parties consent to proceeding by judge alone, they may seek such an order at a Trial Management Conference (TMC) or a Judicial Management Conference (JMC). A party wishing to strike a jury notice may bring an application through the Application by Written Submissions process set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 14 or through a chambers application as set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 28. A party opposing an application to strike can apply for an adjournment of the trial. For more information, see COVID-19 Notice No. 26.

Effective July 13, 2020, the collection of jury fees will resume. However, as resumption of jury selections must precede resumption of jury trials, jury trials may be further delayed.

C. Chambers Hearings and Conferences

As of June 1, 2020, the following matters resumed by telephone:

  • JCCs for family matters;
  • Chambers matters already scheduled for hearing on the trial list; and
  • TMCs, as set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 26

JCCs that are already scheduled to occur on or after June 1, 2020 will resume by telephone. Parties may also schedule a JCC, which will occur by telephone, by contacting Supreme Court Scheduling by phone at the registry where the file is located and filing and serving all required materials pursuant to Rule 7-1 of the Supreme Court Family Rules. Registry contact information can be found online here.

Parties may apply to have a JCC heard by remote video conferencing pursuant to COVID-19 Notice No. 35 – Remote Video Conferencing.

As of June 5, 2020, chambers applications estimated to take two hours or less resumed by telephone in accordance with COVID-19 Notice No. 28 – Chambers Applications.

As of June 30, 2020, registrar hearings resumed in accordance with COVID-19 Notice No. 32 – Registrar Hearings.

As the Court continues with its plan for expanding court operations, further information will be provided as it becomes available.

IV. LIMITATION PERIODS AND FILING DEADLINES

Filing and service timelines under the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules were suspended on March 18, 2020 and began to run again on May 29, 2020. With the exception of any document associated with a Request for Urgent Hearing, Telephone Conference Hearing, or Application by Written Submissions, documents filed between March 19, 2020 and May 28, 2020 are deemed to have been filed on May 29, 2020. A party unable to meet a filing deadline for reasons related to COVID-19 may apply for an order amending the timeline for filing.

The suspension of regular operations and adjournment of trials scheduled on or before May 29, 2020 necessarily suspended the usual timelines under the Supreme Court Civil and Family Rules for holding TMCs, for filing Trial Briefs, and for filing Trial Certificates, as these timelines all count back from the scheduled trial date. Trials scheduled for hearing following May 29, 2020 are also affected. See COVID-19 Notice No. 26 regarding the resumption of TMCs.

Provincial Suspension of Limitation Periods Remains in Place

Effective April 15, 2020, Ministerial Order No. M098 suspended limitation periods and mandatory time periods for the commencement of a civil or family proceeding from March 18, 2020 to the date on which the last extension of the declaration of the state of emergency made under section 9 (1) of the Emergency Program Act expires or is cancelled, except for those limitations and time periods established under the Builders Lien Act and Division 5 of Part 5 of the Strata Property Act.

Once this suspension is lifted, more directions will be provided by the Court.

V. IN-PERSON HEARINGS

The Supreme Court initially instituted the Centralized Registry model, scheduling hearings at only seven locations throughout the province, to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Court will no longer be using the Centralized Registry model. However, the Court is not yet able to return to full in-person hearing and trial capacity at all of its registries. In order to continue to protect the safety and health of the members of the public, limit the number of in-person appearances and trials, limit the transmission of the virus and maintain access to justice as an essential service for the public, many hearings such as chambers applications, TMCs, JCCs and some registrar hearings will continue to be heard by telephone conference or, where available, videoconference, unless the Court otherwise directs.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated July 10, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A – Fax Filing Registries

Chilliwack (604) 795-8397

Cranbrook (250) 426-1498

Dawson Creek (250) 784-2218

Kamloops (250) 828-4345

Kelowna (250) 979-6768

Nelson (250) 354-6133

Penticton (250) 492-1290

Prince George (250) 614-7923

Rossland (250) 362-7321

Salmon Arm (250) 833-7401

Smithers (250) 847-7344

Terrace (250) 638-2143

Vernon (250) 549-5461

Williams Lake (250) 398-4264

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COVID-19 Notice No. 35
Date: July 7, 2020

I. INTRODUCTION

In order to increase the number of matters that can be heard during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court of British Columbia will begin Remote Video Conference (“RVC”) hearings, using Microsoft Teams (“Teams”) in most cases. RVC hearings are defined as those in which all participants – parties, counsel, presider, and court clerk – attend by video conference. This Notice provides information for anyone who will appear by RVC from July 7, 2020 until further notice. During this initial period, the Court’s capacity to provide RVC hearings is subject to availability of equipment and trained staff, including court clerks. At this time, no part of a trial may be heard by RVC, except in special circumstances by order of the trial judge or case management judge.

The Canadian Bar Association has produced a useful guide to Using Teams in Courtroom Online Court Proceedings (“Teams guide”), which is attached to this notice. It contains detailed information about how to prepare for and participate in a video hearing. Parties and counsel should carefully review the Teams guide together with this Notice in advance of their hearing.

Parties and counsel must supply their own equipment and be prepared to set up and use Teams on their own, following the instructions in this Notice and the Teams guide. The Court cannot set up or troubleshoot the use of Teams on computers belonging to parties or counsel.

Despite the Court’s approval of a hearing by RVC, it remains within the discretion of each individual presider to discontinue a hearing by RVC and to make arrangements to continue proceedings by other means, if at any time the presider determines that it is not appropriate for the hearing to continue by RVC.

II. MATTERS THAT MAY BE HEARD BY RVC

A matter may proceed by RVC if either:

  1. The Court orders or directs on an application or its own motion that a matter will be heard by RVC; or
  2. The parties meet the criteria set out below and submit a request using the online form (see Part III below). The Court will review the request to determine if the RVC hearing is appropriate and notify the parties of the decision.

Criteria for RVC Hearings

All parties to a hearing must consent to appearing by RVC. It is not possible to have some parties appear in person or by telephone only without video. However, clients, members of the public, and media can listen in to an RVC hearing using audio only. See Parts V and VII below.

The following types of proceedings may proceed by RVC on request without a prior judicial order, provided sufficient equipment is available and the appropriate arrangements may be made:

  • Chambers matters that are scheduled on the trial list (those longer than two hours and continuations)
  • Judicial Case Conferences, if the only other option is appearing by telephone

For any other proceedings not listed above, parties must apply for a judicial order that a matter may proceed by RVC.

Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, RVC hearings cannot be used for any proceedings that:

  • Require language interpretation, or
  • Involve witness testimony

Parties must be able to meet the minimum technical standards set out below.

Parties must be prepared to submit their documents in advance of the hearing as set out below.

Teams will be the presumptive platform for all RVC hearings, unless the Court orders otherwise.

Requests to appear by Teams must be submitted a minimum of 14 clear days in advance of the hearing in order to make the necessary arrangements. Parties should expect the RVC Coordinator to be in touch within two business days of a request being submitted.

Minimum technical standards

In order to participate in an RVC hearing, the parties must meet the following minimum technical standards without assistance from the Court:

Equipment: All participants must have a working laptop or desktop computer that can run Teams with an operational camera (either an internal camera or an external mounted camera) and a microphone or headset. For an optimal experience, use of a smartphone, iPad, or similar handheld device is not recommended.

Knowledge of Teams: Participants must have working knowledge of Teams or must have undergone training on their own prior to the RVC hearing. The Court is not able to provide training in Teams.

It is recommended that participants install Teams on their computers well in advance of the RVC hearing, although it is possible also to join using a web browser such as Google Chrome. Participants should ensure that they are familiar with all the functions of Teams, as set out in the Teams guide to this notice and available here.

Please note that it is not anticipated participants will use the screen sharing function in Teams for most hearings at the Supreme Court.

Internet speed: All participants must test their internet connection to guarantee that they have sufficient bandwidth, with a minimum internet speed of 20 MBPS down and 10 MBPS up. Participants should perform a self-test of their internet speed at http://fast.com or http://speedtest.net before requesting the RVC hearing.

For an optimal experience, it is recommended that participants join the RVC hearing using a dedicated wired internet connection, meaning that their Ethernet cable should be directly connected to their computer. Wireless internet (“wifi”) does not always provide a stable connection and can lead to issues with audio and video continuity. Wifi may be used if upload and download speeds can be consistently achieved. If wifi is used, the connection should be private and secure (password protected), and the computer should be in close proximity to the router to provide the best signal.

Participants should be aware that they may need higher internet speeds if they intend to use other online programs at the same time as Teams (for example, if they are opening documents from a remote site).

Audio: While it is preferable for participants to join using the computer audio option in Teams, participants may join using the phone audio option in Teams if the party can still also appear on screen by video. Participants should only resort to dialing in by phone without video if their Teams connection fails during the hearing. If a participant is unable to connect by video or loses the video connection, the presider will direct whether the hearing may continue by telephone.

Technical support: Participants must have their own technical support to troubleshoot any problems with audio or video that arise during the hearing.

Self-test: Parties should coordinate between themselves to hold a self-test prior to the day of hearing and reconfirm that their internet speeds and platforms are sufficient on the day of the hearing.

III. HOW TO BOOK THE RVC HEARING

Whether the Court directs that the hearing proceed by RVC or the parties request the RVC hearing, the process the parties must follow is similar. One party must fill out the online request form on behalf of all parties to the hearing. The requesting party must provide an email address for each party or counsel who will attend the hearing, as the link to connect to the RVC hearing will be sent to participants by email. As noted above, the request form must be submitted a minimum of 14 clear days before the hearing. If the RVC hearing is approved, all parties will receive an email from the RVC Coordinator including the date and time, a link to join the RVC hearing using Teams, and further information.

IV. DOCUMENTS

Documents must be filed using existing processes as set out in the Supreme Court Civil, Family, and Criminal Rules, practice directions, and applicable notices issued by the Court in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless parties had previously established other document management processes or the Court directs otherwise, parties must deliver hard copies of any documents for use during the hearing to the registry at which the matter will be heard. Documents may not be shared in Teams during the hearing. The Supreme Court is currently developing additional processes for document submission, and further information will be provided once they become available.

V. INVITATION TO THE HEARING

All participants who are scheduled to attend an RVC hearing will receive an invitation by email from the RVC Coordinator with a link to the RVC hearing in Teams. In hearings over multiple days, the same link will be used for the entire duration of the RVC hearing.

VI. PARTICIPATING IN THE HEARING

The Court recognizes that there is a difference between attending by RVC and appearing in a courtroom. Some aspects of court decorum are not practical in a virtual situation. The Court also recognizes that those participating may be sharing their workspaces with family members, pets, or others, and that there may occasionally be interruptions that are beyond their control.

Most court formalities will continue to be respected.

  • Parties must provide realistic time estimates and adhere strictly to them.
  • Participants are expected to dress in business attire, unless they are directed otherwise by the Court.
  • Participants must do their best to minimize disturbances, including with respect to noise.
  • Participants may sit throughout the hearing and are not required to stand while addressing the Court. They are also not required to stand or bow when the presider enters or leaves the hearing.
  • Participants may not eat and may not drink anything except water while the hearing is ongoing.
  • Participants should avoid moving away from the screen/camera or should seek the permission of the judge to do so.

Parties and counsel are encouraged to prepare materials that they intend to use or rely on in advance, either by printing them or displaying them on a separate screen from the one that will be used for the RVC hearing. The day of the hearing Parties should follow these directions on the day of the hearing:

  • Please check in at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled hearing.
  • When prompted, enter your first and last name as your screen name in Teams.
  • Conduct a pre-test to ensure that your microphone, speakers, and video are working.
  • After the pre-test, wait until the court clerk calls your matter. The court clerk will moderate the RVC hearing. You will be prompted to join the meeting, and you will wait until the presider enters the hearing, at which point the court clerk will call the matter and you will be asked to identify yourself verbally. The RVC hearing will then proceed much as a regular court hearing.
  • If your audio fails or you have another technical issue during the hearing, you should let the court clerk know using the message function in Teams, then try to resolve the issue. If the problem persists, you should be prepared to dial in by telephone using the numbers provided by the RVC Coordinator in the invitation email you received.

During the hearing – standing down at breaks

Participants should remain connected to the hearing during breaks but should mute their audio and turn off video. At the scheduled end of breaks, participants should turn both audio and video back on, then wait for the court clerk to recall the matter.

Etiquette and decorum

Counsel or parties are expected to introduce themselves for the record as they would during any ordinary court hearing.

Counsel or parties are requested to speak slowly and clearly and to pause regularly to allow for the presider to ask questions.

If counsel or a self-represented party wishes to object, they should signal the presider by turning on their microphone and raising their hand. This should activate their Teams window, but if this does not happen, the participant should be prepared to speak to get the presider’s attention.

Counsel appearing should use customary forms of address for court:

  • My Lord/Lady or Madam/Mr. Justice ______ to address judges;
  • Your Honour or Master/Registrar ______ to address masters and registrars; and
  • Madam/Mr. Registrar to address court clerks.

Recording is not permitted

No recording of hearings is permitted, except by accredited media for the purpose of verifying notes, in accordance with the Court’s Policy on Use of Electronic Devices in Courtrooms.

Parties or counsel participating may be required to provide an undertaking not to record any portion of the RVC hearing in any electronic form, or presiders may read an order into the record prohibiting any recording of proceedings.

Visual appearance

As much as possible, parties should choose a location that will not be accessible to others during the RVC hearing, with adequate lighting, including on faces, and a background appropriate for a court proceeding that is plain and not distracting.

Participants are encouraged to look into the camera when speaking in order to make “eye contact” with the presider.

Sound

All parties must be on separate computers situated in separate rooms, in order to avoid feedback or other audio problems. Counsel representing one party may share a computer. The presider and court clerk will also attend from separate rooms.

As much as possible, participants are encouraged to choose a quiet location with minimum background noise. Participants must mute their microphones whenever they are not speaking. (See the attached Teams guidelines for instructions on how to mute your microphone.)

Participants should consider using headphones or earphones for optimal audio quality.

Participants are encouraged to identify the location of their computer microphones and to be mindful of the sounds that could be picked up. Most built-in computer microphones are located next to the keyboard. Participants are discouraged from typing during the hearing or placing papers directly on top of or close to the microphone as the sound can disrupt the audio transmission.

VII. ATTENDANCE BY MEDIA AND THE PUBLIC

Media wishing to attend any RVC hearing should contact the BC Superior Courts Communications Officer, the Honourable Bruce Cohen, by email at SCJCommunicationsOfficer@BCCourts.ca. Arrangements will be made for media to connect to the proceeding by Teams or teleconference. Media observing a proceeding by Teams must mute their audio and keep their cameras turned off. Members of the public may also contact the Communications Officer to obtain information about how to attend RVC hearings by teleconference.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated July 7, 2020 at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Download Using MS Teams in Online Court Proceedings - Desktop and Telephone.

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COVID-19 Notice No. 33
Date: July 7, 2020

This notice replaces the following notices and announcements:

  • COVID-19 Notice No. 18: Notice of Suspension of Regular Court Operations – Criminal Proceedings dated May 11, 2020;
  • COVID-19 Notice No. 7: Notice of Suspension of Regular Court Operations – Criminal Proceedings dated April 16, 2020;
  • COVID-19 Notice No. 5: Notice of Suspension of Regular Court Operations – Criminal Proceedings dated March 30, 2020;
  • Announcement – Changes to Supreme Court Registry Operations dated March 25, 2020;
  • Further Directions dated March 20, 2020;
  • Notice of Suspension of Regular Court Operations dated March 18, 2020; and,
  • Supreme Court of British Columbia Modified Proceedings dated March 13, 2020.

Effective March 19, 2020, the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia at all of its locations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. During the suspension, the Court continued to hear essential and urgent matters, and implemented new temporary processes for scheduling hearings and filing materials for those matters. The Court has also used remote means for hearings wherever possible and appropriate.

The Attorney General’s Court Services Branch has confirmed that in-person registry services will resume on July 13, 2020 (see Part I of this notice for details). For this and other reasons, effective July 13, 2020, many of the temporary processes will be discontinued as no longer necessary and the regular processes will resume (see Part II of this notice for details).

The Court has expanded the scope of its in-court operations. However, attendance at courthouses is discouraged except where necessary for registry business or for a hearing that is scheduled to occur in person in a courtroom. This will help minimize the overall number of people in courthouses.

I. REGISTRY SERVICES

The Attorney General’s Court Services Branch has confirmed that all Supreme Court registries will be open for in-person services on July 13, 2020. As of that date, materials may be filed at the registry. All registries will continue to receive documents for criminal matters by mail or fax. Counsel or self-represented accused persons may also contact the relevant criminal registry to inquire whether it is possible to file documents by email. Contact information for all Supreme Court registries is available here.

Anyone with a general inquiry (e.g. public health measures, courthouse hours, parking) or an inquiry related to registry services, including the filing of materials, is asked to contact the Supreme Court registry by telephone, and not to contact Scheduling.

II. CRIMINAL MATTERS

During the suspension of regular court operations, the Court established a temporary process to manage requests for hearings of essential or urgent criminal matters while registries were not providing in-person services. Effective July 13, 2020, the request for urgent hearing process will be discontinued and the regular processes will resume except as noted below.

Judicial interim release (bail) and bail review hearings are proceeding by telephone with accused persons in custody appearing by video. Hearings may be scheduled by contacting Supreme Court Scheduling directly.

Detention review hearings under s. 525 of the Criminal Code continue to be scheduled in accordance with CPD-4. Appearances are by telephone, with accused persons in custody appearing by video.

Regular fix-date appearances are proceeding on the usual day and time for each court location. Appearances are by telephone, with self-represented accused persons in custody appearing by video.

Section 490 applications are proceeding in accordance with the process described in COVID-19 Notice No 30.

Regular pre-trial conferences (PTCs), COVID pre-trial conferences (CV PTCs), and Case Management Conferences (CMCs) are proceeding by telephone. If the accused person is self-represented and in custody, Crown counsel should arrange for them to appear at the PTC, CV PTC, or CMC by video. For information regarding CV PTCs for cases that have been adjourned or are at risk of being adjourned due to the public health emergency, please see COVID-19 Notice No. 29.

Criminal trials, voir dires and pre-trial applications, and extradition hearings resumed (where appropriate) on June 8, 2020. Appearances are in person in the courtroom unless the Court directs otherwise. The Court’s capacity to hear these types of matters remains limited by the public health measures resulting from the ongoing pandemic. However, capacity is gradually increasing as modifications are made to courthouse and courtroom facilities, and in-court technology is improved.

Summary conviction and traffic ticket appeals are proceeding by telephone wherever possible and appropriate. Counsel may schedule an appeal matter for a telephone hearing by contacting Supreme Court Scheduling. If copies of any exhibits are required from the Provincial Court proceedings, counsel must contact the registry at least five business days before the hearing to ensure that copies of the exhibits can be sent to the relevant court location for the hearing.

For any other criminal matters not mentioned above, counsel or accused persons not represented by counsel may contact Supreme Court Scheduling directly to arrange for a hearing. Attendance at hearings will be by telephone where possible and appropriate, or by video where appropriate and available.

Jury selections are cancelled up to and including September 7, 2020, everywhere in the province.

III. MODE OF ATTENDANCE FOR HEARINGS IN CRIMINAL MATTERS

In order to reduce the total number of people in courthouses at the same time, most non-trial appearances will take place by telephone or video (where appropriate and available), unless otherwise directed by the Court. In-person trials and hearings will be scheduled in courthouses and courtrooms that have been brought into conformity with public health directives, and that can be appropriately staffed.

Anyone attending a hearing in person at a courthouse must review the directions in COVID Notice No. 27 – In Court Measures During the Pandemic prior to arrival at the courthouse. For information regarding health and safety protocols at courthouses across the province, please consult the Ministry of Attorney General’s information about COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 7 July 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Associate Chief Justice Heather J. Holmes
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 32
Date: June 30, 2020

This notice supplements the following notices:

Introduction

On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia suspended regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. All civil and family matters scheduled for trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed.

In COVID-19 Notice #25, the Court announced the resumption of some regular court operations. This Notice provides further directions in regard to hearings before the registrar, which willresume in accordance with the procedures set out in this Notice.

I. Bankruptcy Hearings

Until further notice, bankruptcy hearings before a master or registrar will resume, with the trustees attending in person at the following locations:

  • Vancouver
  • New Westminster
  • Victoria 
  • Nanaimo 
  • Kamloops 
  • Kelowna 

Trustees must attend by telephone at the following locations, where there is no resident master or registrar:

  • Prince Rupert
  • Prince George
  • Nelson
  • Vernon

Hearings at Prince George, Prince Rupert, and Nelson will be conducted by a master or registrar at the Kamloops registry. Hearings at Vernon will be conducted by a master or registrar at the Kelowna registry.

Trustees are to contact Supreme Court Scheduling at the relevant location to bookblocks of hearing times and provide the telephone number they wish to use for the hearing.

Because of social distancing requirements at courthouses (see COVID-19 Notice No. 27 and the Ministry of Attorney General’s information about COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations), interested parties will not be able to appear in person but may appear by telephone. Until further notice, paragraphs 4 and 5 in Administrative Notice 12 regarding telephone attendance for interested parties do not apply. Interested parties wishing to file materials must follow the directions set out below. Trustees should advise Supreme Court Scheduling when booking hearing times that interested persons wish to appear by telephone and provide the interested person’s telephone number. Depending on the number of parties attending remotely, the court clerk will arrange a conference call or dial the interested person directly.

Materials

Filed Documents

Courthouse registries are not providing in-person services until further notice. For methods of filing see Part IV of COVID-19 Notice #25. Parties are strongly encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online.

When filing Form 81 under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, all trustees must provide their contact details, including phone, address, and email address.

Hearing Materials and Hearing Records

Trustees must prepare their hearing materials and hearing records in accordance with Administrative Notice 12. All hearing materials and hearing records must be submitted in hard copy.

Prince George, Prince Rupert, and Nelson matters will be heard in Kamloops, andhearing materials and hearing records should be sent to the Kamloops registry. Vernon matters will be heard in Kelowna, and hearing materials and hearing records should be sent to the Kelowna registry.

Trustees appearing by telephone are required to deliver hearing materials, using the drop box (until the registries resume in-person services) or by mail or courier set out in the Court’s COVID-19 Notice No. 8 and subsequent COVID-19 Notices, at the registrywhere the matter will be heard no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before the date set for the hearing. Late materials will not be accepted.

Trustees appearing in person must retrieve their hearing materials and hearing records at the conclusion of the hearing. For trustees appearing by telephone, hearing materials and hearing records will be securely destroyed at the conclusion of the hearing.

If the hearing is adjourned, the registry will hold the hearing materials or hearing record for 10 business days. If a trustee does not reset the adjourned application within that time period, the contents of the hearing materials or hearing record will be securely destroyed.

II. Other Registrar’s Hearings

Until further notice, all other hearings and pre-hearing conferences before the registrar will resume by telephone, unless the registrar directs otherwise.To schedule matters, please contact the appropriate Supreme Court Scheduling location in accordance with Appendix A.

Materials

Filed Documents

Courthouse registries are not providing in-person services until further notice. For methods of filing see Part IV of COVID-19 Notice #25. Parties are strongly encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online.

The Appointment (Supreme Court Civil Rules, Form 49 and Supreme Court Family Rules, Form F55) must identify one of the following places as the place of hearing and indicate that the hearing is by telephone:

  • Chilliwack
  • Kamloops
  • Kelowna
  • Nanaimo
  • New Westminster
  • Prince George
  • Vancouver
  • Victoria

The Appointment must include the telephone number and email address of the person taking out the Appointment. Where the Appointment hearing date is set by Requisition following a pre-hearing conference (see Administrative Notice 8) the person must include their telephone number and email address on the Requisition.

Hearing Records

The person taking out the Appointment must prepare a hearing record in accordance with Rule 23-6(3.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules or Rule 22-7(3.1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules.

Hearing records must be submitted using the drop box (until the registries resume in-person services) as set out in the Court’s COVID-19 Notice No. 8 at the registry where the matter will be heard no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before the date set for the hearing. Late materials will not be accepted.

The hearing record must include a cover page and comply with the requirements in Administrative Notice 14.

Following a telephone hearing, hearing materials and hearing records will be securely destroyed, unless the hearing is adjourned. If the hearing is adjourned, the registry will hold the hearing materials or hearing record for 10 business days. If the matter is notreset within that time period, the contents of the hearing materials or hearing record will be securely destroyed.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 30, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A

REGISTRY FILE LOCATION CENTRALIZED PLACE OF HEARING AND SUPREME COURT SCHEDULING
CONTACT INFORMATION
  • Chilliwack
CHILLIWACK
604.795.8349
  • Cranbrook
  • Golden
  • Kamloops
  • Nelson
  • Revelstoke
  • Rossland
  • Salmon Arm
KAMLOOPS
250.828.4351
  • Kelowna
  • Penticton
  • Vernon
KELOWNA
250.470.6935
  • Campbell River
  • Courtenay
  • Nanaimo
  • Port Alberni
  • Powell River
NANAIMO
250.741.5860
  • New Westminster
NEW WESTMINSTER
604.660.8551
  • Dawson Creek
  • Fort St. John
  • Prince George
  • Quesnel
  • Williams Lake
PRINCE GEORGE
250.614.2750
  • Vancouver
VANCOUVER
604.660.2853
  • Duncan
  • Prince Rupert
  • Smithers
  • Terrace
  • Victoria

VICTORIA
250.356.1450
1.877.288.0889 (toll free)

 

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COVID-19 Notice No. 31
Date: June 30, 2020

This notice supplements the following notice:

On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia suspended regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. All civil and family matters scheduled for trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed.

With the release of COVID-19 Notice #28, the Court announced that effective June 1, 2020, chambers matters already scheduled for hearing on the trial list could resume by telephone, and effective June 8, 2020, chambers applications estimated for 2 hours or less, other than short leave applications, could resume by telephone.

Hearing of foreclosure matters in chambers has resumed by telephone using the telephone process set out in COVID-19 Notice #28.

Parties submitting sealed bids to the Court for foreclosures and other matters involving the sale of land should follow the process set out in the Schedule and Appendices attached to this notice.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 5, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

SCHEDULE “A”

BID PROCESS

  1. Any person interested in making an offer to compete against an offer before the court and the subject of an application for approval of sale (the “Original Bid”) to purchase any Lands (a “Competing Offeror”) shall do so as follows (the “Bid Process”):
    1. An offer to purchase in the standard real estate contract form, accompanied by a Schedule “A” to be provided by the Seller or its agent, shall be submitted by the Competing Offeror to the Seller’s counsel either by: (a) a sealed envelope; or (b) attachment to an email with the Subject Line marked “SEALED BID: [address]”, in either case addressed to the Seller’s counsel;
    2. An offer to purchase must be accompanied by a Transmission Letter/Acknowledgement of Receipt (“Transmission/Receipt Notice”) in the form attached as Appendix “A” hereto, signed by the Competing Offeror or their authorized representative; and
    3. All offers must be accompanied by: (a) the applicable deposit by way of bank draft or certified cheque; or (b) proof of delivery of a bank draft or certified cheque to the Seller’s realtor or held in trust with the purchaser(s)’ counsel; and, either concurrently with its delivery or, if delivered by email, to be received by the Seller’s counsel on or before 12:00 p.m. the business day preceding the hearing date of the application for sale approval (the “Hearing Date”).

      All bids, in final form, must be received by the Seller’s counsel by no later than noon on that day which is two business days before the Hearing Date (the “Bid Date”).
  2. The Seller’s counsel shall endorse and return to the applicable Competing Offeror any Transmission/Receipt Notices provided by such Competing Offeror prior to the Bid Date.
  3. The Seller’s counsel shall advise the proposed purchaser under the Original Bid (the “Original Offeror”) that bids have been received pursuant to the process set out in paragraph 1 above within a reasonable period of time of a bid being received. The Original Offeror will have until 4:00 p.m. on the Bid Date to provide a revised bid if they wish, accompanied by a Transmission/Receipt Notice.
  4. The Original Offeror and all Competing Offerors (collectively, “Offeror” or “Offerors”) acknowledge that:
    1. If an Offeror has not provided the Transmission/Receipt Notice to the Seller’s counsel and received back a signed copy of the Transmission/Receipt Notice from the Seller’s counsel, then the Seller’s counsel is not under any obligation to consider such Offeror’s bid;
    2. All bids must clearly set out the names of all parties to be on title should the offer be approved by the court, with middle name and how title is to be taken (joint tenancy or tenants in common, with particular ownership interest);
    3. To the extent any bid submitted represents a revised offer from the Original Bid, it shall not be necessary for such revised offer to be accompanied by any further deposit of funds, and it may be provided on the condition that it is only to be relied upon if other offers are received; and
    4. The Seller’s counsel may request that any Offeror provide further information as to the identity of any related parties or operating minds of any corporate entities, so as to satisfy itself as to the Offeror(s)’ bona fides and ability to complete the sale, including paying the purchase funds upon closing. Should any such Offeror(s) not provide information as may reasonably be requested by the time reasonably required in the request, the Seller’s counsel may decline to consider their offer.
  5. After receipt of any bids received in accordance with the procedure outlined above, and after the Bid Date:
    1. The Seller’s counsel will open any offers received in envelopes or electronic form
    2. The Seller’s counsel shall provide any prior financial chargeholder’s counsel with a copy of all offers it has received, either in envelopes or electronically, if the offer to be presented to court is not sufficient to discharge that encumbrance; and
    3. No earlier than 12:00 p.m. (noon) the day before the Hearing Date and no later than 8:00 a.m. on the Hearing Date, the Seller’s counsel will electronically forward to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, to the email address for the applicable Registry as set forth in Appendix B hereto, copies of the paper and electronic bids, each saved as its own document together with a request to direct the email to the presider, noting the hearing date; and
    4. The Seller’s counsel is at liberty to discuss the results of the bid process with counsel for any subsequent charge holders and the Seller, in order to obtain instructions as to which offer to support at the court application, provided that such parties agree to keep the results confidential.

      The Seller, Seller’s counsel and any charge holder’s counsel shall undertake to maintain the confidentiality of all bids received, either in envelopes or electronically.
  6. At the hearing, the Seller’s counsel will report to the Court as to the results of the Bid Process and provide the Court with its position as to the best offer for the Court’s further consideration, approval and pronouncement of a vesting order if deemed appropriate.
  7. After the Hearing, the Seller’s counsel shall notify the successful Offeror of the outcome of the hearing and file the approved offer with the court by way of requisition.
  8. All parties, including all Offerors, acknowledge that the Court retains its full discretion with respect to the application for approval of any sale, including with respect to the use of the Bid Process and the consideration of any offers that were not made in compliance with the Bid Process (“Non-Compliant Offers”). In addition to complying with paragraph 6 of this Bid Process, the Seller’s Counsel should advise the Court at the beginning of the application for sale approval whether any Non-Compliant Offers were received and the Court retains full discretion to review and consider any Non-Compliant Offer(s) as it sees fit.

DOWNLOAD APPENDIX "A" TRANSMISSION LETTER

APPENDIX "B"

EMAIL ADDRESSES OF REGISTRIES

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COVID-19 Notice No. 30
Date: June 30, 2020
This notice replaces COVID-19 Notice No. 3

Applications under s. 490 of the Criminal Code for orders for further detention of things seized raise some distinct procedural issues in the current COVID-19 health emergency, during which the Court is keeping in-person appearances in court to a minimum.

Typically, applications under s. 490 face an inherent deadline because an earlier order of this Court or the Provincial Court is due to expire. Under the current circumstances, the required notice of the application to extend the period of detention may be difficult to give to the party(ies) from whom the things were seized because of illness, quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing, or business closures associated with the health emergency. Even where notice is successfully given, the notified party may (for similar reasons) have difficulty consulting counsel or taking the necessary steps to respond.

Now that fix-date appearances have resumed by telephone for all court locations on their regular dates, the following procedures will apply to s. 490 applications in Supreme Court until further notice during the health emergency:

  1. Crown counsel areto contact Supreme Court Scheduling to arrange to set the matter for either a hearing on the merits or for a fix-date appearance, depending on the circumstances.
  2. If the Crown indicates that the person from whom the things were seized has been given notice of the application, the application will be set for a hearing on the merits either in person or by remote means, as appropriate.
  3. If the Crown indicates that the application cannot proceed for lack of notice to the personfrom whom the things were seized due to reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, then the matter will be set for a fix-date appearance by telephone before the detention period expires. If, at the fix date appearance, a date is set for the hearing of the application, the Crown will notify the person from whom the things were seized of the date and time of the hearing.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 30 June 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Associate Chief Justice Heather J. Holmes
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 29
Date: June 30, 2020

This notice replaces COVID-19 Notice No. 16 – COVID Pre-trial Conferences (CV PTC)

Highlighted change:

  • Counsel are no longer required to complete and submit a CV PTC form

What is a CV PTC and when is one required?

CV PTCs, which were introduced on May 4, 2020, will continue until further notice for all criminal cases where the trial was adjourned or is at risk of being adjourned because of direct or indirect effects of the public health emergency.

CV PTCs have the specific purpose of advancing or resolving adjourned and at-risk cases as much as possible and appropriate. They will be held by telephone, are in addition to regularly scheduled pre-trial conferences, and are not required for cases that have been determined to be subject to Criminal Practice Direction 3: Complex Criminal Cases (CPD-3).The judge conducting the CV PTC may be different than the assigned trial or case management judge.

Counsel are no longer required to complete and submit a form in advance of the CV PTC, but, as for any PTC, should appear at the CV PTC informed and instructed about the case.

Booking a CV PTC

1. Online process

Counsel are encouraged to book a CV PTC online by clicking here or visiting the Scheduling page of the Supreme Court website. Either Crown or defence counsel may book the CV PTC. Before booking online, the requesting party must make efforts to contact the opposing party to determine a mutually agreeable date for the CV PTC.

The requesting party will receive an acknowledgment email confirming the booking. Upon receipt of the email confirmation of the booking, the requesting party must forward a copy to opposing counsel. The requesting party must also file a Requisition confirming the date, time and court location.

2. Booking at a fix-date appearance 

If counsel do not schedule a CV PTC, one may be set at the next fix date appearance for the matter.

Appearance by Telephone

If the accused is represented by counsel, the accused does not need to attend the CV PTC unless they wish to do so. Counsel and self-represented accused persons who are not in custody must provide Supreme Court Scheduling with the telephone number at which they can be reached for the CV PTC. If a self-represented accused person is in custody, Crown counsel should arrange for the accused to appear by video.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 30 June 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Associate Chief Justice Heather J. Holmes
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 28
Date: June 5, 2020

This notice supplements the following notices:

Introduction

On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia suspended regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. All civil and family matters scheduled for trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed. See COVID-19 Notice #8.

In COVID-19 Notice #25, the Court announced that effective June 1, 2020, chambers matters already scheduled for hearing on the trial list would resume by telephone. Othercivil and family chambers matters were adjourned until further notice. This Notice provides further directions on these matters.

Effective June 8, 2020, Chief Justice Hinkson directs that chambers applications, other than short leave applications, estimated for 2 hours or less may resume by telephone in accordance with the procedures set out in this Notice. For chambers matters that are longer than two hours and not already scheduled for hearing on the trial list, parties may refer to the Court’s website under “Scheduling – Booking Lengthy Chambers”.

The following processes remain in place until further notice:

The Chief Justice has also ordered that until the conclusion of the Court’s suspension of regular operations, certain requirements in the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules are modified to facilitate the process in this Notice. See the Court’s order dated June 5, 2020, found here.

While the Court is taking all steps necessary to allow for these chambers applications to proceed, the Court cannot guarantee that all applications will proceed as scheduled. The Province is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts taken to contain it. The Court will continue to be guided by public health recommendations, and further adjustments to Court processes may be required. The Court appreciates willingness on the part of parties to expect and accommodate changes to scheduled proceedings. As set out in this Notice, chambers applications will be conducted by telephone. Further information and directions will be provided when in-person and video conferencing hearings become available.

I. MAKING A CHAMBERS APPLICATION

Parties can make chambers applications to the Court that are estimated to take two hours or less.

Parties must bring and respond to applications in accordance with the Supreme Court Civil Rules or the Supreme Court Family Rules, as applicable, subject to the modifications described below.

A. Modifications to Notice of Application and Application Response

The applicant must file a notice of application in Form 32 for a civil matter or in Form F31 for a family matter with the modifications below:

  • In accordance with Appendix A, the applicant must identify one of the following locations as the place of hearing, and indicate that the hearing is by telephone:
    • Chilliwack
    • Kamloops
    • Kelowna
    • Nanaimo
    • New Westminster
    • Prince George
    • Vancouver
    • Vernon
    • Victoria
    • Williams Lake
  • The applicant must include their mailing address, as well as an email address and telephone number where the registry may contact them to confirm telephone conferencing information.

Parties must file and serve the modified notice of application, modified application response, and other application materials (i.e., every affidavit and other document that is to be referred to at the hearing and that has not already been filed and served in the proceeding) in accordance with the Supreme Court Civil Rules or the Supreme Court Family Rules, as applicable.

Courthouse registries are not providing in-person services until further notice. Formethods of filing see Part IV of COVID-19 Notice #25. Parties are strongly encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online.

Parties that had an application of less than two hours set for hearing at a location in Appendix A that was adjourned as a result of the Court’s suspension of regular operations may reset the application by filing a requisition in accordance with Rule 8-1(21.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules or Rule 10-6(19.1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules. Parties must provide a mailing address, as well as an email address and telephone number where the registry may contact them to confirm telephone conferencing information. Those parties are not required to file a new modified notice of application or modified application response, but must follow the procedures set out below.

B. Application Record

The process for providing an application record to the registry is modified as follows:

  • The applicant must provide the application record to the registry where the hearing is to take place no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for the hearing (in other words, the timeframe set in Rule 8-1(15) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(14) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been modified).
  • The application record must be provided by placing it in the application record drop box located at the registry where the hearing is to take place.
  • The application record must be prepared in accordance with Rules 8-1(15) and 8-1(16) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(14) of the Supreme Court Family Rules, except parties may include copies of case law and other authorities that they will rely on at the hearing (in other words, Rule 8-1(15)(d)(ii) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(14)(d)(ii) of the Supreme Court Family Rules do not apply).
  • The applicant must serve a copy of the application record index on each respondent no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for hearing (in other words, the timeframe set in Rule 8-1(17) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(15) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been modified).
  • The application record must have an external cover page as required by Administrative Notice 14, and must include the contact information (email preferred) for all parties. If the registry is unable to contact the parties to provide telephone conferencing information, the matter may not be put on the court list.
  • Any amended application record must be provided to the registry no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for the hearing.
  • If parties submit a draft order in the application record, a backing sheet is required and it must include a mailing address.

Application records will not be returned to the parties after the hearing (in other words, Rule 8-1(19) and (20) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(17) and (18) of the Supreme Court Family Rules do not apply). Application record contents will be securely destroyed following the hearing. If the hearing is adjourned, the registry will hold the application record for 10 business days. If a requisition resetting the adjourned application is not filed within that time period, the contents of the application record will be securely destroyed.

If an application record is not provided to the registry within the time stipulated in this Notice, the application will be struck from the chambers list. Parties are not permitted to file a requisition for late filing of their application record. The applicant may file a requisition to reset their hearing date.

II. THE CHAMBERS HEARING

Parties will check in with the court clerk the morning of the hearing, and remain in the telephone conference until their matter is called and heard. The following processes will apply:

A. Confirming the scheduled hearing date and time

  • At least one day before the hearing date, the registry will send the parties a hearing confirmation email with instructions about how to join the telephone conference and the time that the parties must check in with the court clerk.

B. Attending chambers via phone

  • Parties will be required to check in with the court clerk when they join the telephone conference and should refer to the instructions provided in the hearing confirmation email.
  • The check-in time will begin at 9:00 am, unless the hearing confirmation email provides otherwise.•Parties are expected to stay on the line with a muted connection until their matter is called.
  • The Policy on Use of Electronic Devices in Courtrooms (the “Policy”) applies to applications heard by telephone, and parties must not record telephone proceedings except in accordance with the Policy.

Parties will be held to the time estimate provided. There may be cost consequences for parties who exceed their time estimate or the two hour time limit.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 5, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A

The location of the chambers hearing depends on the location of the registry file.

The below table shows where the chambers hearing will be located based on the location of the registry file. For example, if the registry file is located in Cranbook then the hearing location is Kamloops.

REGISTRY FILE LOCATION HEARING LOCATIONand REGISTRY CONTACT INFORMATION
Chilliwack CHILLIWACK
604.795.8350
Cranbrook
Golden
Kamloops
Nelson
Revelstoke
Rossland
Salmon Arm
KAMLOOPS
250.828.4344
Kelowna
Penticton
KELOWNA
250.470.6900
Campbell River
Courtenay
Nanaimo
Port Alberni
Powell River
NANAIMO
250.741.5860
New Westminster NEW WESTMINSTER
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COVID-19 Notice No. 27
Date: June 5, 2020

Supreme Court of British Columbia trials will resume on June 8, 2020 in a number of courthouse locations. Changes to court configurations and some in-court processes are required to comply with public health directives and orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Provincial Government has retained the services of a private consultant to assist in identifying the necessary steps to modify courtrooms and courthouses to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus. Please refer to the Ministry of Attorney General’s information about COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations summarizing the steps taken to ensure everyone’s safety in courthouses and courtrooms, including the steps they are taking regarding the screening process for people entering courthouses, cleaning protocols, and physical distancing protocols inside the courthouse.

Certain general precautions will apply to all in person court hearings, appearances and trials. Judges, masters and registrars have the discretion to direct more detailed precautions depending on the circumstances of a particular court hearing. These measures are subject to change without notice as the Court receives further guidance and direction from public health authorities.

I. Trial Management Conferences, Pre-Trial Conferences and Other Pre-hearing Conferences

Counsel and self-represented parties at a trial management conference (“TMC”), a criminal pre-trial conference (“PTC”) or any other type of pre-hearing conference are expected to confirm that the trial or hearing can proceed in accordance with the precautions and restrictions set out below and to advise the presiding judge or master of any problems these measures may present. Any such problems should be addressed in advance of the trial or hearing. Counsel and self-represented parties will also need to address any additional concerns that may apply in the specific circumstances of their trial or hearing.

For civil or family trials, if counsel or self-represented parties are unprepared, the presiding judge or master may adjourn the trial and award costs against the unprepared party or litigant.

II. Addressing instances of symptomatic participants

Counsel and self represented parties must be in a position to confirm at the TMC, PTC, or other conference, at the opening of trial, and at the start of each day of the trial or at the start of any other in court appearance that to their knowledge, no one involved on their side (including counsel, the party, the accused or witnesses) has any symptoms of illness that maybe related to COVID-19. The BC Centre for Disease Control website advises that the symptoms of COVID-19 can include the following:

  1. fever
  2. chills
  3. cough
  4. shortness of breath
  5. sore throat and painful swallowing
  6. stuffy or runny nose
  7. loss of sense of smell
  8. headache
  9. muscle aches
  10. fatigue
  11. loss of appetite
  12. less commonly, gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Following the TMC or PTC, during and after the trial and during and after any other in court appearance, if counsel and self-represented parties become aware that anyone who has been present in court has experienced any symptoms related to COVID-19 or that anyone has come into close contact with a person with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 during the previous 14 days, they must notify the relevant public health officials and the local courthouse manager and follow any directions provided.

III. Witnesses

Prior to the TMC, PTC or other pre-hearing conference, counsel or parties must determine if any potential witness is reluctant to attend court due to health-related concerns or for other reasons related to the public health emergency. The court is unlikely to require the witness to attend in such circumstances, and the TMC, PTC or other pre-hearing conference will address the question of whether the witness can give evidence by other means, such as by affidavit or testimony by telephone or videoconferencing, etc.

IV. Masks and Protective Face Coverings

Members of the public and media are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks or protective face coverings when attending court hearings. Participants at a court appearance, including counsel, parties and witnesses, are permitted to wear a mask or protective face covering in the courtroom if they wish to do so, subject to direction from the judge, master, or registrar if removal of a mask is necessary in order for the participant’s evidence or submissions to be heard and understood. Participants should be aware that the judge, master, or registrar and the court clerk may or may not wear a mask in the courtroom. Any concerns on the part of counsel, parties or witnesses regarding the use of masks in the courtroom should be raised for discussion at the TMC, PTC or other pre-hearing conference or with the presiding judge or master or registrar at the earliest opportunity.

V. Oaths or Affirmations

If a witness wishes to give evidence under oath rather than by affirmation, they must bring a Bible or other religious book or sacred object to court. There will be no Bibles or other religious books available in the courtroom.

VI. In Custody Accused Persons

Crown and defence counsel should be familiar with the current policy of BC Corrections concerning the attendance of detained accused persons in court and be prepared to discuss the considerations raised by the policy at the PTC.

VII. Exhibits, Documents, and Authorities

Counsel and self-represented parties must make every effort to limit documentary evidence and case authorities to those that are truly necessary. The court has always discouraged the practice of filing binders of documents as exhibits that counsel may not refer to or that are not entered into evidence; that practice is particularly discouraged in the current circumstances. For briefs of authorities, counsel should include only those cases to which they need to, and will, refer.

Civil and family hearings and trials

Counsel and self-represented parties should deliver copies of documents that they intend to enter as exhibits or rely on in cross-examination to other counsel/parties in advance, rather than simply passing them out in the courtroom. The same applies to common books of documents, written submissions, and briefs of authorities.

Criminal trials and extradition hearings

Crown counsel should deliver copies of documents that they intend to enter as exhibits to defence counsel in advance of the trial or extradition hearing, rather than simply passing them out in the courtroom. Defence counsel are encouraged to do so as well, if this will not impair the conduct of the defence case.

Movement of documents and exhibits in the courtroom where unavoidable

Where the passing of copies of documents or physical exhibits to others in the courtroom is unavoidable, counsel and self-represented parties must use the hand sanitizer available in the courtroom to sanitize their hands before and after handling the documents. In addition to hand sanitizer, there will be a supply of gloves in the courtroom for anyone who wishes to use them, as well as instructions for the safe use, removal, and disposal of gloves. In order to maintain a safe physical distance between counsel, the court clerk, and the witness, documents and exhibits should be placed on the document table before the court clerk and the judge enter the courtroom. Where this is not possible or appropriate, at the time a document or exhibit is to be handed up, counsel or self-represented parties must place it on the document table and then return to counsel table at which point the court clerk will pick it up and hand it to the judge, master, registrars or witness.

VIII. Cleaning and Sanitation

The courtroom will be cleaned after each matter and at the end of each court day, including the witness box, accused box, counsel tables, court clerk desk, the judicial bench, public seating areas, and all other areas of the courtroom where people sit.

A courtroom attendant will wipe down the witness box, including the microphone, horizontal surfaces of the stand, armrests, and handrails after each witness finishes their testimony and at the end of each court day.

In order to facilitate the cleaning of counsel tables, the court requests that counsel who are appearing over multiple days on a particular matter remove their materials from the courtroom each night. If this is not possible or practical (e.g., because of the volume of materials), counsel should pack up their materials into boxes and store them underneath the counsel table.

For more information and details about cleaning protocols, please refer to the Ministry of Attorney General’s information about COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations.

IX. Courtroom Layout

The physical layout of the courtroom, including the position of counsel, the court clerk and the witness may be altered to maintain a safe physical distance between all participants. The ability to move within a particular courtroom, such as by approaching a witness, maybe restricted for physical distancing purposes.

Communication between counsel and parties

Counsel must consider how they intend to confer with co-counsel and their clients in the courtroom while maintaining a safe physical distance.

Civil and family trials

Counsel should give notice at the TMC of an intention to seek leave of the trial judge to communicate with co-counsel or their client by text message or another method that would not normally be acceptable in court.

Criminal trials and extradition hearings

At the commencement of the trial or extradition hearing, defence counsel should be prepared to discuss with the trial judge the means by which they and their accused clients will communicate and confer with each other inside and outside the courtroom. There may be additional considerations where the accused is in custody.

Water

There will be no water jugs available in the courtroom during the court hearing. Counsel, parties and witnesses are permitted in bring their own water in clear plastic bottles that are no larger than 1 litre in volume. Sheriffs will provide water for an in-custody accused person.

Public and media

In order to maintain a safe physical distance in the public gallery between members of the media and public, the number of seats available will be reduced. If counsel or a party is aware of anyone who intends to observe all or part of the court hearing, they should advise those individuals that while the court remains open to the public, seating is limited, and entry into the courtroom will not be permitted once the room capacity is reached.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 5 June 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 26
Date: revised June 3, 2020

Highlighted changes:

  • Clarifications regarding jury selection and jury trials

This notice replaces the following notice:

  • COVID-19 Notice No. 23 – Civil and Family Matters – Resumption of Trial Management Conferences and Trials, dated May 21, 2020

Introduction

On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia suspended regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. All civil and family matters scheduled for trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed. See the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8.

The COVID-19 Notice #8 also states that the suspension of regular operations and adjournment of trials scheduled on or before May 29, 2020 necessarily suspended theusual timeframes under the Rules for holding trial management conferences (“TMCs”), filing trial briefs, and filing trial certificates, as these timeframes all count back from the scheduled trial date. In addition, COVID-19 Notice #8 states that trials scheduled after May 29, 2020 will also be affected and that further directions will be provided. This Notice provides further directions on these matters.

The Court is now preparing to resume some regular operations as set out in its COVID-19 Notice #25. During this transition, to allow the Court and parties time to prepare for the resumption of operations, the Court is extending the adjournment only for civil and family trials scheduled to begin between June 1 and June 5, 2020. While the Court is taking all steps necessary to prepare to hear trials scheduled on or after June 8, 2020, the Court cannot guarantee that matters will proceed as scheduled. The Court’s abilityto hear trials scheduled on or after June 8, 2020 will continue to be subject to developments that may occur during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, civil jury selections are suspended and civil jury trials are cancelled up to and including September 7, 2020 everywhere in the province pursuant to COVID-19 Notice #25. Until court registries reopen for in-person services, parties will not be able to submit jury fees. Applications to abridge timelines to pay jury fees will be considered once registries reopen for in-person services. Since resumption of jury selections must precede resumption of jury trials, jury trials may be further delayed.

For civil matters where a jury notice has been filed and served, if all parties consent to proceeding by judge alone, they make seek such an order at a TMC or a Judicial Management Conference (“JMC”). A party wishing to strike a jury notice may bring an application through the Application by Written Submissions process set out in COVID-19 Notice #14. A party wishing to oppose the application to strike can respond through the Application by Written Submissions process and request adjournment of the trial. As set out in COVID-19 Notice #14, parties may consent to abridge timelines.

To schedule a TMC, the party must follow the steps set out in Part IV of this Notice and to schedule a JMC, the party must follow the steps set out in Part V of this Notice.

Effective May 13, 2020, Chief Justice Hinkson directs that:

  • TMCs that are already scheduled to take place on or after June 1, 2020, may proceed by telephone in accordance with the process set out in Part II of this Notice.
  • TMCs that were scheduled to take place between March 19 and May 29, 2020 and were adjourned, for family trials that are scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020, may be rebooked in accordance with the process set out in Part III of this Notice.
  • TMCs that were scheduled to take place between March 19 and May 29, 2020 and were adjourned, for civil trials that are scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020, may be rebooked in accordance with the process set out in Part IV of this Notice.
  • Civil and family trials that were scheduled and were adjourned due to the suspension of the court’s regular operations may be dealt with in accordance with the process set out in Part V of this Notice.

The Chief Justice also ordered that until the conclusion of the Court’s suspension of regular operations, certain requirements in the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules regarding the timing of certain TMCs and the timeframes for filing and serving trial briefs (civil matters), trial records, and trial certificates have been amended for TMCs and trials scheduled to begin on or before July 24, 2020. In addition, requirements in the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Supreme Court Family Rules, which require either attendance in person or an application to exempt a person from attending in person, do not apply to TMCs held during the Court’s suspension of regular operations. See the Court’s order dated May 13, 2020, found here.

I. THE PURPOSE OF A TMC

Given the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19, the Court recognizes that it is important in these times to hold TMCs to assess whether parties are ready or able to proceed to trial and how the trial may be conducted efficiently within the requirements of public health orders and guidelines. Properly completed trial briefs will assist the Court in making orders setting out a plan for how the trial should be conducted.

It is important to note, however, that holding a TMC does not guarantee that a civil or family trial will proceed on the scheduled date.

II. WHAT HAPPENS TO TMCS THAT ARE SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACEON OR AFTER JUNE 1, 2020

If a TMC is already scheduled to take place on or after June 1, 2020, for a civil or a family matter, that TMC will take place on the scheduled date and will be heard by telephone.

Parties must file and serve their trial brief, trial record and trial certificate pursuant to Part III of this Notice for a family matter and Part IV of this Notice for a civil matter.

III. FAMILY MATTERS: WHAT HAPPENS TO TMCS THAT WERE ADJOURNED

If a TMC was scheduled to take place between March 19 and May 29, 2020 and was adjourned by virtue of the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8 and a trial is scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020, then that TMC may be rebooked to be heard by telephone by following the steps in Part A below. Trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates must be filed and served in accordance with Part B below.

A. Rebooking a TMC:

To rebook a TMC a party (“Rebooking Party”) must:

  • Make efforts to contact the opposing party to determine a mutually agreeable date for the TMC, and then rebook the TMC online. The date of the TMC must be scheduled according to the following:
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and June 26, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 7 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 14-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between June 29 and July 17, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 14 days before the scheduled trial date. (In 4 other words, the timeframe in Rule 14-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between July 20 and July 24, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 21 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 14-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframe for scheduling the TMC is not shortened, and the TMC must take place at least 28 days before the scheduled trial date in accordance with Rule 14-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules.
  • Once a TMC has been rebooked, the Rebooking Party must file and promptly serve on all other parties a requisition in Form F17 with the following information:
    • the date and time of the TMC;
    • the venue at which the TMC was rebooked but also state that the TMC will be heard by telephone; and
    • the phone numbers of all parties by which they may be contacted for the hearing of the TMC.

B. Filing Trial Briefs, Trial Records and Trial Certificates:

The timeframes for filing and serving trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates for family law cases are set out below. Parties are encouraged to e-file their documents through Court Services Online. See COVID-19 Notices #8 and #12 for more information on e-filing and other methods of filing.

Trial Brief:

All parties must file and serve their trial briefs in Form F45 at least 7 days before the date set for the TMC pursuant to Rule 14-3(3) of the Supreme Court Family Rules. This applies to trial briefs for all TMCs scheduled to take place on or after June 1, 2020.

Trial Record:

If a trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and July 24, 2020, the party who filed the notice of trial must file and serve the trial record at least 1 day before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe set out in Rule 14-4(3) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)

If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial record have not been shortened and the party who filed the notice of trial must file and serve the trial record in accordance with Rule 14-4(3) of the Supreme Court Family Rules: file the trial record at least 14 days before but not more than 28 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial record on all parties.

Trial briefs must be included in the trial record in accordance with Administrative Notice #13.

Trial Certificate:

If a trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and July 24, 2020, each party must file atrial certificate in Form F46 at least 7 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial certificate on all parties. (In other words, the timeframe set out in Rule 14-5(2) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)

If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial record have not been shortened and each party must file the trial certificate in Form F46 pursuant to Rule 14-5(2) of the Supreme Court Family Rules: file the trial certificate at least 14 days before but not more than 28 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial certificate on all parties.

If the trial certificate must be filed and served before or on the date of the TMC, the parties may complete paragraph 4 of the trial certificate, which currently requires parties to certify that a trial management conference has been conducted in this family law case, as follows:

“4. A trial management conference has been conducted in this family law case: N/A Due to COVID-19 a trial management conference has not been conducted in this family law case but is scheduled to take place on [insert date].”

Unless the court otherwise orders, a trial must be removed from the trial list if no trial certificate has been filed within the timeframe set out in this Notice or pursuant to Rule 14-5 of the Supreme Court Family Rules, as applicable.

IV. CIVIL MATTERS: WHAT HAPPENS TO TMCS THAT WERE ADJOURNED

If a TMC was scheduled to take place between March 19 and May 29, 2020 and was adjourned by virtue of the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8 and a trial is scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020, then that TMC may be rescheduled to be heard by telephone following the steps in Part A below. Trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates must be filed and served in accordance with Part B below.

A. Rebooking a TMC:

To rebook the TMC a party (“Rebooking Party”) must:

  • Make efforts to contact the opposing party to determine a mutually agreeable date for the TMC, and then rebook the TMC online. The date of the TMC must be scheduled according to the following:
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and June 26, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 7 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 12-2(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between June 29 and July 17, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 14 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 12-2(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between July 20 and July 24, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 21 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 12-2(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframe for scheduling the TMC is not shortened, and the TMC must take place at least 28 days and not more than 120 days before the scheduled trial date pursuant to Rule 12-2(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules.
  • Once a TMC has been rebooked, the Rebooking Party must file and promptly serve on all other parties a requisition in Form 17 with the following information:
    • the date and time of the TMC;
    • the venue at which the TMC was rebooked but also state that the TMC will be heard by telephone; and
    • the phone numbers of all parties by which they may be contacted for the hearing of the TMC.

The parties of record may, no later than 14 days before the date set for the TMC, apply under Rule 8-3(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and in accordance with Practice Direction 51 for an order by consent dispensing with the need for a TMC. If a party intends to bring an application to dispense with the need for a TMC, they must still rebook a TMC as set out above. Trial briefs filed as part of such an application must include a sufficient amount of detail to give the Court confidence that all issues have been addressed. (In other words, parties should follow the process set out in Rule 12-2(3.4) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules.) If this application would need to be filed by Monday May 18, 2020, the party may file and serve it by Tuesday May 19, 2020 to accommodate the fact that May 18, 2020 is a statutory holiday. All other timeframes will continue to apply as set out in this Notice or pursuant to the Supreme Court Civil Rules.

B. Filing Trial Briefs, Trial Records and Trial Certificates:

The timeframes for filing and serving trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates for civil law cases are set out below. Parties are encouraged to e-file their documents through Court Services Online. See COVID-19 Notices #8 and #12 for more information on e-filing and other methods of filing.

Trial Brief:

If the TMC is scheduled to take place between June 1 and July 24, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial brief as set out in Rules 12-2(3) and 12-2(3.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules have been shortened as follows:

  • The plaintiff must, at least 14 days before the date for the TMC: (a) file a trial brief in Form 41, and (b) serve a copy of the filed trial brief on all other parties of record. If a party is required to file and serve a trial brief by Monday May 18, 2020, the party may file and serve by Tuesday May 19, 2020 to accommodate the fact that May 18, 2020 is a statutory holiday.
  • Each party of record, other than the plaintiff must, at least 7 days before the date for the TMC: (a) file a trial brief in Form 41, and (b) serve a copy of the filed trial brief on all other parties of record.

If the TMC is scheduled to take place on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial brief in Form 41 have not been shortened and all parties must file and serve their trial brief pursuant to Rule 12-2(3) and (3.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules.

Unless the court otherwise orders, a trial must be removed from the trial list if no trial brief has been filed within the timeframes set out in this Notice or pursuant to Rule 12-2(3) and (3.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules, as applicable.

Trial Record:

If a trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and July 24, 2020, the party who filed the notice of trial must file and serve the trial record at least 1 day before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframes set out in Rule 12-3(3) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules have been shortened.)

If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial record have not been shortened and the party who filed the notice of 8 trial must file and serve the trial record pursuant to Rule 12-3(3) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules: file the trial record at least 14 days before but not more than 28 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial record on the other parties of record.

Trial briefs must be included in the trial record in accordance with Administrative Notice #13.

Trial Certificate:

If the trial is scheduled to take place between June 8 and July 24, 2020, each party must file a trial certificate in Form 42 at least 7 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial certificate on all parties of record. (In other words, the timeframe set out in Rule 12-4(2) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules has been shortened.)

If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial certificate have not been shortened and each party must file the trial certificate pursuant to Rule 12-4(2) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules: file the trial certificate at least 14 days before but not more than 28 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial certificate on all parties of record.

If the trial certificate must be filed and served before or on the date of the TMC, the parties may complete paragraph 4 of the trial certificate, which currently requires parties to certify that a trial management conference has been conducted in this action, as follows:

“4. A trial management conference has been conducted in this action: N/A Due to COVID-19 a trial management conference has not been conducted in this action but is scheduled to take place on [insert date].”

Unless the court otherwise orders, a trial must be removed from the trial list if no trial certificate has been filed within the timeframe set out in this Notice or pursuant to Rule 12-4 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules, as applicable.

V. WHAT HAPPENS TO TRIALS THAT WERE SCHEDULED TO OCCUR AND WERE ADJOURNED

This part of the Notice applies to civil and family trials that were scheduled and were adjourned by virtue of the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8 and Notice #25, and that have not already been rebooked.

In order to reschedule adjourned trial dates, parties must do 1 of the following: rebook trial dates following the steps in Part A below OR schedule a JMC to be heard by telephone following the steps in Part B below.

A. Rebooking Trial Dates

Parties should contact Supreme Court Scheduling by phone at the registry where thetrial was to be held to rebook the trial based on availability as follows:

  • Before rebooking trial dates, the party seeking to rebook (“Rebooking Party”) must make efforts to contact all other parties to determine mutually agreeable dates for the trial.
  • When the Rebooking Party calls to schedule the trial, they must advise Supreme Court Scheduling of their file number, the registry location and whether a judge is seized of or assigned to the matter.
  • Once trial dates have been scheduled, the Rebooking Party must file and serve promptly on all other parties a notice of trial pursuant to Rule 12-1 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 14-2 of the Supreme Court Family Rules.

Registry contact information can be found online here.

Parties are encouraged to e-file their notice of trial through Court Services Online. See COVID-19 Notices #8 and #12 for more information on e-filing and other methods of filing.

B. Scheduling a JMC

Effective Tuesday May 19, 2020, parties may schedule a JMC online to be heard by telephone as follows:

  • Before scheduling a JMC, the party seeking a JMC (“Scheduling Party”) must make efforts to contact all other parties to determine a mutually agreeable date for the JMC.
  • Once a JMC has been scheduled, the Scheduling Party must file and promptly serve on all other parties a requisition in Form 17 for civil law matters and Form F17 for family law matters at least 7 days before the JMC. The requisition:
    • must note the fact that a JMC has been scheduled, the date and time of the JMC, the venue at which the JMC was booked but also state that the JMC will be heard by telephone, and the phone numbers for all parties by which they may be contacted for the hearing of the JMC; and
    • may list the documents to support the requisition, such as previously filed trial briefs, trial records and trial certificates, if applicable.

One of the purposes of a JMC is to foster a candid discussion about the management of the case during COVID-19 and options on how to move the matter forward. Examples of what may be discussed include: rebooking trial dates, issues of urgency, narrowing of issues, and alternative dispute resolution options. As stated in the Introduction of this Notice, for civil matters where a jury notice has been filed and served, parties consenting to proceed by judge alone may use the JMC to seek an order setting aside the jury notice. Parties wishing to apply to strike a jury notice should follow the Application for Written Submissions process as described in the Introduction.

Registry contact information can be found online here.

Parties are encouraged to e-file their requisition through Court Services Online. See COVID-19 Notices #8 and #12 for more information on e-filing and other methods of filing.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 3, 2020 at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

+

COVID-19 Notice No. 25
Date: revised June 3, 2020

Highlighted changes:

  • Clarifications regarding jury selection and jury trials

This notice replaces the following notice:

  • COVID-19 Notice No. 22 – Resumption of Some Court Operations, dated May 21, 2020

This notice supplements the following notice:

Effective March 19, 2020 and until further notice, the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia at all of its locations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

All civil and family matters scheduled for hearing between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed. This automatic adjournment extended to all trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings currently scheduled for hearing on or before May 29, 2020.

The Court is resuming some operations. This notice sets out what matters will be phased in over the coming weeks. It also provides direction regarding timelines under the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules that had been suspended. Further directions about court operations will be forthcoming, and members of the profession, the public and the media are advised to continue to monitor the Court’s website for updates.

While the Court is taking all steps necessary to resume some court operations, the Court cannot guarantee that matters will proceed as scheduled. The Province is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts taken to contain it. Due to the fluidity of the situation, the Court will continue to be guided by public health recommendations, and further adjustments to Court processes may be required. In these challenging times, the Court appreciates willingness on the part of parties to expect and accommodate changes with respect to scheduled proceedings.

As set out in this Notice, hearings and conferences will be conducted by telephone. Notice will be provided if and when in-person and video conferencing hearings become available.

I. MATTERS BEING HEARD DURING SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS

The Court continues to hear or consider the following civil and family matters:

These processes will remain in place until further notice, during the resumption of some operations.

II. SCHEDULE FOR RESUMPTION OF CIVIL AND FAMILY MATTERS

Trials

All civil and family trials scheduled to begin on or before June 5, 2020 are adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directs.

All civil and family trials scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020 will resume, unless the Court otherwise directs. The resumption of civil and family trials may be subject to change as a result of limitations on available facilities or public health recommendations. See COVID-19 Notice #20 for more information regarding the resumption of trials.

Jury Selections and Jury Trials

All civil jury selections are suspended and jury trials are cancelled up to and including September 7, 2020 everywhere in the province. Until court registries reopen for in-person services, parties will not be able to submit jury fees. Applications to abridge timelines to pay jury fees will be considered once registries reopen for in-person services.

Since resumption of jury selections must precede resumption of jury trials, jury trials may be further delayed. For civil matters where a jury notice has been filed and served, if all parties consent to proceeding by judge alone, they make seek such an order at a TMC or a JMC. A party wishing to strike a jury notice may bring an application through the Application by Written Submissions process set out in COVID-19 Notice #14. A party wishing to oppose an application to strike can respond through the Application by Written Submissions process and request adjournment of the trial. For more information, see COVID-19 Notice #26.

Chambers Hearings and Conferences

As of June 1, 2020, the following matters will resume by telephone:

  • Judicial Case Conferences for family matters;
  • Chambers matters already scheduled for hearing on the trial list; and
  • TMCs, as set out in COVID-19 Notice #20

Judicial Case Conferences that are already scheduled to occur on or after June 1, 2020 will resume by telephone. Parties may also schedule a Judicial Case Conference, which will occur by telephone, on or after June 1, 2020 by contacting Supreme Court Scheduling by phone at the registry where the file is located and filing and serving all required materials pursuant to Rule 7-1 of the Supreme Court Family Rules. Registry contact information can be found online here.

Apart from chambers matters that are already scheduled for hearing on the trial list, which will be heard by telephone, civil and family chambers are adjourned until further notice. Parties may still file applications as appropriate under the various processes referred to in Part I of this Notice.

The balance of the scheduled matters before the Court remain adjourned until further notice. As the Court continues with its plan for resumption of court operations, further information will be provided as it becomes available.

III. LIMITATION PERIODS AND FILING DEADLINES

Running of Filing Timelines under the Supreme Court Rules Will Resume

Filing and service timelines under the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules, which were suspended on March 18, 2020, will recommence on May 29, 2020. Filing and service timelines will begin to run again starting May 29, 2020. With the exception of any document associated with a Request for Urgent Hearing, Telephone Conference Hearing, or Application by Written Submissions, documents filed between March 19 and May 28, 2020 will be deemed to have been filed on May 29, 2020. Parties are encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online. Alternate methods for filing as set out in COVID-19 Notice #8 also remain in place. A party unable to meet a filing deadline for reasons related to COVID-19 may apply through a Telephone Conference Hearing or an Application by Written Submission for an order amending the timeline for filing.

The suspension of regular operations and adjournment of trials scheduled on or before May 29, 2020 necessarily suspended the usual timelines under the Supreme Court Civil and Family Rules for holding TMCs, for filing Trial Briefs, and for filing Trial Certificates, as these timelines all count back from the scheduled trial date. Trials scheduled for hearing following May 29, 2020 are also affected. See COVID-19 Notice #20 regarding the resumption of TMCs.

Effective April 15, 2020, Ministerial Order No. M098 suspended limitation periods and mandatory time periods for the commencement of a civil or family proceeding from March 18, 2020 to the date on which the last extension of the declaration of the state of emergency made under section 9 (1) of the Emergency Program Act expires or is cancelled, except for those limitations and time periods established under the Builders Lien Act and Division 5 of Part 5 of the Strata Property Act. Once this suspension is lifted, more directions will be provided by the Court.

IV. REGISTRY SERVICES REMAIN SUSPENDED

Courthouse registries are not providing in-person services until further notice.

However, all courthouses continue to accept documents for civil and family matters.

Parties are strongly encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online.

Those unable to e-file may file documents by way of:

  • Fax Filing at a registry designated as a fax filing registry by Supreme Court Civil Rule 23-2 or Supreme Court Family Rule 22-3. See Appendix A for a list of fax filing registries and the fax numbers;
  • Mailing to any Supreme Court registry. Contact information for all Supreme Court registries is available here; and
  • Using the Secure Drop Box available at Supreme Court registries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The drop box will be accessible to the public from Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and will be emptied at the end of the day and processed every 24 hours. The drop box will be monitored to ensure its contents are secure during the day. Parties who submit materials for filing using the drop box must provide with the materials a telephone number or email address where they can be reached. Registry staff will contact parties only if their materials are not accepted for filing.

V. HEARINGS WILL BE SCHEDULED AT SEVEN CENTRALIZED REGISTRIES

Effective March 30, 2020, and until further notice, hearings of the Supreme Court of British Columbia will only be scheduled at the following seven central locations, unless otherwise ordered by the Court:

  • Vancouver Law Courts
  • New Westminster
  • Victoria
  • Kamloops
  • Kelowna
  • Prince George
  • Nanaimo

Hearings will occur by telephone or video conferencing where appropriate and available, unless otherwise directed by the Court. Other registries will continue to receive documents in the manner set out in this notice.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 3, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A – Fax Filing Registries

Chilliwack (604) 795-8397

Cranbrook (250) 426-1498

Dawson Creek (250) 784-2218

Kamloops (250) 828-4345

Kelowna (250) 979-6768

Nelson (250) 354-6133

Penticton (250) 492-1290

Prince George (250) 614-7923

Rossland (250) 362-7321

Salmon Arm (250) 833-7401

Smithers (250) 847-7344

Terrace (250) 638-2143

Vernon (250) 549-5461

Williams Lake (250) 398-4264

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COVID-19 Notice No. 24
Date: May 26, 2020

As of May 26, 2020 and until further notice, parties not appearing in person before the Court as a result of measures put in place during the public health emergency are required to file their affidavits of service or delivery.

Affidavits of service or delivery may be e-filed through Court Services Online. If the hearing date is imminent, the party e-filing through Court Services Online should request filing on an urgent basis. This option is available at “Step 1B: Rush Details” of the online process, as illustrated in Appendix A to this Notice. The party should choose “Other” and include the hearing date and time and method of appearance in the comment field (e.g., “Needed for hearing set for May 29, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. by phone”).

A party unable to use e-filing may file an affidavit of service or delivery by fax, mail, or drop box, as set out in Part VII of the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8. Parties using these filing methods should include a note requesting filing on an urgent basis and indicate the hearing date and time and the method of appearance. Registry staff will make every effort to scan affidavits of service or delivery before hearings, but cannot guarantee this will occur in all cases because of reduced staff capacity during the public health emergency. The drop box contents are quarantined for 24 hours, and therefore parties using the drop box must file affidavits of service or delivery a minimum of four days in advance of when they are needed to allow time for processing.

During the public health emergency, the Court has set out a process for commissioning affidavits in urgent cases where it is impossible or unsafe, for medical reasons, for the deponent of an affidavit to physically attend before a commissioner. For more information, please see COVID-19 Notice No. 2.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated May 26, 2020 at Vancouver, British Columbia
By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A - CSO Rush Filing

 

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COVID-19 Notice No. 21
Date: May 14, 2020

This notice supplements COVID-19 Notice No. 18 – Notice of Suspension of Regular Court Operations –Criminal Proceedings

Effective March 19, 2020 and until further notice, the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia at all of its locations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Court is now working toward the resumption of regular court operations. This notice gives directions about criminal proceedings scheduled for June 1, 2020 and following. Further directions about court operations will beforthcoming, and members of the profession, the public and the media shouldcontinue to monitor the Court’s website regularly for updates.

I. MATTERS BEING HEARD DURING SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS

The Court continues to hear the following:

  • Criminal matters asset outin Parts I and II of COVID-19 Notice No.18 (urgent and essential criminal matters, fix-date appearances, pre-trial conferences, and summary conviction and traffic ticket appeals);
  • COVID-19 Pre-Trial Conferences, as set out in COVID-19 Notice No.16; and
  • Applications under s. 490 of the Criminal Code, as set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 3.

The processes described in the notices listed abovewill remain in place until further notice. The Court also continues to hear other matters in specific criminal cases, as directed by judges of the Court.

I. SCHEDULED CRIMINAL MATTERS IN JUNE 2020

Matters scheduled for June 1-5

Unless the Court (including the assigned or seized judge)otherwise directs, all criminal trials, voir dires and pre-trial applications, and extradition hearings, scheduled to be heard between June 1 and June 5, 2020, are adjournedto the fix-date list of the court location where the matter was scheduled to be heard, on the dates set out in Appendix A to this Notice. The fix-date appearances will be by telephone, with self-represented accused persons in custody appearing by video.

To preserve jurisdiction, a bench warrant will be issued for all accused persons whose scheduled appearances between June 1 and 5, 2020are adjourned. The bench warrant will be held and not executed until the date of the fix-date appearance. If the accused person appears personally or through counsel on that date, the bench warrant will be vacated.

If Crown or defence counsel or an accused not represented by counsel wish, they may book a COVID-19 Pre-trial Conference, to take place before May 27, by following the process set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 16, to determine whether the trial or a portion thereof may proceed as scheduled between June 1-5.They may alternatively arrange a pre-trial conference before the assigned or seized judge to canvass whether the matter will proceed.

Matters scheduled for June 8 and following

At this point, the Court expects to proceed with criminal trials, voir dires and pre-trial applications, and extradition hearings scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020. However, the situation will continue to be assessed, taking into account the many factors affecting the Court’s capacity to hear these types of matters during the pandemic.

All jury selections are canceled up to and including September 7, 2020 everywhere in the province.

The Court continues to work with the Court Services Branchof the Ministry of Attorney General, which is making changes and improvements to courthouse and courtroom facilities and to in-court technology to accommodate court appearances consistent with public health and safety recommendations, the rights and interests of those involved, and the open court principle. The Court’s approximately 100 courtrooms are being assessed and modified for physical distancing, and some structural modifications may be necessary. Telephone and videoconferencing is operating at or near maximum current capacity. The Court also recognizes that the direct and indirect consequences of the public health emergency for individual staff and court participantswill also affect whether some cases can proceed as scheduled.

The Court will continue to explore every option to increase and fully resume its operations, and appreciates the patience and flexibility of court users during this challenging time.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 14 May 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Associate Chief Justice Heather J. Holmes
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Provincial Court of BC
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Effective Date: 13 July 2020 (unless otherwise stated in this Notice)
NP 19 (New additions in red)

NOTICE TO THE PROFESSION AND PUBLIC

COVID-19: RESUMPTION OF FURTHER COURT OPERATIONS

The Provincial Court of British Columbia recognizes that the Province is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chief Public Health Officers of Canada and the Province still require people to keep a safe distance from each other, but currently there can be a cautious reopening of public places with health and safety protocols in place to minimize the transmission of the virus. Taking this into account, the Provincial Court has developed the plan set out in this Notice to resume further court operations.

As of July 13, 2020, Provincial Court registries will be accepting all filings at the applicable court registry either in-person or remotely (by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries under GEN 01 Practice Direction, or using Court Services Online where available). To protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options wherever possible.

Criminal, family, small claims, and youth court trials and hearings scheduled after July 3, 2020 will remain on the trial list on the date scheduled. Counsel and self-represented litigants should attend court in-person on the date scheduled at 9:00 AM to advise if they are ready to proceed that day. The Court will determine which trials will proceed. Witnesses and parties represented by counsel are to wait outside the courthouse (within a 30 minute distance) and be prepared to be called to attend court in-person. Criminal trials, preliminary inquiries and continuations of trials and preliminary inquiries (excluding summary proceedings court files) that are not able to proceed due to lack of court time or are otherwise adjourned will be scheduled for a pre-trial conference before a new hearing date is scheduled. Family and small claims case conferences will proceed by audio or videoconference on their scheduled dates. The directions in this Notice are subject to change as circumstances of the pandemic change.

Download this Notice to the Profession and Public.

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Effective Date: 13 July 2020
NP 21

NOTICE TO THE PROFESSION AND PUBLIC
GUIDE TO REMOTE PROCEEDINGS

Purpose

In light of the extraordinary circumstances during the current public health emergency, and as described in NP 19 COVID-19: Resumption of Court Operations, some court proceedings will be held remotely by audioconference or videoconference until further notice, unless otherwise ordered by a judge. Although the court proceeding is taking place remotely and judges, parties, lawyers, and court staff may attend by audioconference or videoconference, it remains a formal setting.

This Notice provides information for anyone who will appear before the Provincial Court for a remote proceeding beginning May 7, 2020 until further notice. In this Notice, the term “remote proceeding” means a hearing or case conference conducted by audioconference (including telephone or Microsoft Teams) or videoconference (including Microsoft Teams).

A step-by-step guide to appearing in a Microsoft Teams audioconference or videoconference proceeding is attached as Appendix “A”. It contains detailed information about connecting to and managing a Microsoft Teams audioconference or videoconference. Review the guide carefully before your matter proceeds.

Notice

Remote Proceeding Etiquette

In some ways, the behaviour expected of people appearing remotely is the same as if they were actually in a courtroom. However, conducting a proceeding fairly and effectively by audioconference or videoconference requires some modification to etiquette and behaviour. The following list is not exhaustive, but provides some guidelines for the best practices to follow during a remote conference or hearing:

  1. For audioconference and videoconference proceedings
    1. No recording: You are not permitted to audio- or video-record any portion of a remote proceeding. The BC Courts’ Policy on the Use of Electronic Devices sets out penalties for recording, including prosecution. If you need a transcript of a hearing, it is possible to order one from the transcription service from the court registry.
    2. Confidentiality: The conversation between the parties, their counsel (if represented), and the judge in a case conference or pre-trial conference is private and confidential. Only parties and/or their counsel should appear at the conference and noone else should be present, unless otherwise permitted by the conference judge. Do not forward or share the meeting link or dial up information to any unauthorized individuals.
    3. Location: The Court understands that you do not have the advantage of appearing in a controlled courtroom environment. You may be participating from a small, shared living space. Please make reasonable efforts to find a quiet, private space with a neutral background for your court appearance.
    4. Mute microphone: To minimize background noise, mute your microphone when you are not speaking. If you are using a computer, close applications on your computer, such as Twitter, Facebook, and email, that are not needed so you are not interrupted during the proceeding. Also, put your cell phone to silent mode.
    5. Introductions: When you first join the remote proceeding, identify yourself (and who you represent, if applicable).
    6. Speak clearly and slowly: Remember to unmute before speaking. Speak clearly and slowly enough for everyone to follow what you are saying. Pause frequently to allow the judge to ask questions and avoid speaking over the judge or other participants. This is particularly important when there is an interpreter. Mute the microphone again when done speaking. Follow the judge’s directions about when to speak or ask questions.
    7. Objecting, responding or commenting: If you find it necessary to object to, respond to, or comment on something that an opposing party has said and it cannot wait:
      • if on video, raise your hand to signal to the judge that you wish to speak; and
      • if on audio, respectfully interrupt the conversation when appropriate to let the judge know that you have something to say.
    8. Forms of address: A Provincial Court Judge is called “Your Honour”. The other party and/or their lawyer is addressed as Ms. or Mr. with their last name.
    9. Time limits: Time limits may have been set in advance, or the judge may set them during the conference or hearing. You must follow them to make sure everyone has a fair chance to be heard.
    10. Materials: Collect and organize the documents you will need in advance, and make sure you have them with you for the hearing or conference.
    11. Use pen and paper: Take notes with a pen and paper. The sound of typing can be distracting, and make it hard to hear others. Avoid shuffling papers as that also can be distracting.
    12. No food or drink: As in a courtroom, do not eat or drink anything but water during the proceeding.
  2. For audioconference proceedings
    1. ​Answering the call from the Court: Telephone hearings are recorded by the Court. When you answer the court clerk’s call, introduce yourself by saying your first and last name. The court clerk will note the names of all the parties and lawyers attending the hearing on the court record.
    2. Say your name whenever you start speaking. At an audioconference proceeding, it can be hard to know which person is talking.
    3. Audio connection: If using a telephone, a land line works better than a cell phone. In either case, do not use the speaker phone function. Instead, use a hand-held phone or use a set of headphones with a built-in mic and mute feature. If possible, avoid the use of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).
  3. For videoconference proceedings
    1. ​Dress appropriately: Judges will be dressed as they would for any settlement or family case conference to reflect the professionalism of the Court. Dress as if you are attending an in-person proceeding in a courtroom. Click on the link for more information on how to dress for court.
    2. Arrive early: You should be prepared to join the videoconference proceeding at least 15 minutes before the start of the proceeding, to allow time to address any technical issues. Before the videoconference proceeding starts, you will enter a virtual waiting room and remain there until the proceeding begins.
    3. Use your name when prompted for a screen name: When you join the videoconference proceeding, you will be asked to enter your name. The name that you enter will be displayed for all participants to see. Type your first and last name.
    4. Sitting and Standing: You do not need to stand when the videoconference proceeding starts or ends, and you can remain seated when addressing the judge.
    5. Bowing: You do not need to bow at any time during the videoconference proceeding.
    6. Focus on your camera: Direct eye contact is important. When speaking, look into the camera rather than at the person(s) that you are speaking to.
    7. Technical difficulties: If the image and sound quality is interrupted, ask whether other participants can still hear you. If so, continue speaking as the image will reappear once bandwidth returns to normal. If problems continue, it may be necessary for some of the participants to turn off their video. If the session ends unexpectedly, please try re-connecting. If the Microsoft Teams platform is not working, the presiding judge will advise the applicable JCM who will then contact the parties and provide Telus teleconference dial-in details so all parties may continue the proceeding by dialing in from any telephone.

History of Notice to the Profession and Public

Melissa Gillespie
Chief Judge
Provincial Court of British Columbia

Download the Full NP 21 with Appendices
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Effective Date: 13 June 2020
NP 22 (new additions in red)

Purpose

Further to our Announcement of May 26, 2020 and NP 19 Notice to the Profession and Public - COVID 19 Resumption of Court Operations, the Provincial Court is now hearing proceedings remotely and in-person throughout the Province. The Court remains mindful of the need to protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19, while maintaining access to the Court. This Notice outlines the health and safety protocols that will be in place in the courtrooms. It is subject to amendment if there are changes in the COVID-19 situation in British Columbia. Judges, Judicial Justices, and Judicial Case Managers (“Judicial Officers”) have the discretion to direct more detailed precautions depending on the circumstances of a particular court proceeding.

Summary

The health and safety protocols that will be implemented follow the initial orienting principles on safe and accessible courts approved by the federal Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19, which say: “[The Public Health Agency of Canada] recommends employing a hierarchy of control measures, conceived of as a reverse pyramid, to effectively mitigate risk. This approach reflects the requirements of applicable federal, provincial, and territorial occupational health and safety legislation. Elimination of the hazard is the first control measure to be considered. Consequently, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing is the foundation for any risk mitigation strategy. Additional elements can be introduced where physical distancing is impossible or insufficient.”

The Provincial Government has retained the services of a private consultant to assist in identifying the necessary steps to modify courtrooms and courthouses to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus. Please refer to the Ministry of Attorney General’s webpage summarizing the steps Government has taken to ensure everyone’s safety at all resumed inperson proceedings, including the steps they are taking regarding the verbal screening process with respect to COVID-19 for people entering courthouses, cleaning protocols, and social distancing protocols inside the courthouse.

All persons attending courtrooms will be required to participate and cooperate to attain the recommended COVID-19 health and safety protocols. This includes practicing physical distancing, sanitizing hands upon entry of a courthouse or courtroom, and adhering to all other recommended health and safety protocols and directions.

The Provincial Court will continue to assess the situation on an ongoing basis. We thank all of the stakeholders who have provided input and information regarding the resumption of priority in-person proceedings. We recognize managing the physical distancing and other health and safety protocols will take the effort and cooperation of all court participants and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

Notice

1. Addressing instances of symptomatic participants

Counsel and self represented parties must be in a position to confirm at the opening of a proceeding, and at the start of each day of the proceeding, that to their knowledge, no one involved on their side (including counsel, the party, the accused or witnesses) has any symptoms of illness that may be related to COVID-19. The BC Centre for Disease Control website advises that the symptoms of COVID-19 can include the following:

  1. fever
  2. chills
  3. cough
  4. shortness of breath
  5. sore throat and painful swallowing
  6. stuffy or runny nose
  7. loss of sense of smell
  8. headache
  9. muscle aches
  10. fatigue
  11. loss of appetite
  12. less commonly, gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

During and after the proceeding, if counsel and self-represented parties become aware that anyone who has been present in court has experienced any symptoms related to COVID-19 or that anyone has come into close contact with a person with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 during the previous 14 days, they must notify the relevant public health officials and the local courthouse manager and follow any directions provided.

2. Witnesses

Prior to the proceeding, counsel or parties must determine if any potential witness is reluctant to attend court due to health-related concerns or for other reasons related to the public health emergency. If you become aware of this information in advance of the scheduled proceeding, parties should arrange to address the question of whether the witness can give evidence by other means, such as by affidavit or testimony by telephone or videoconferencing, etc. It will be up to parties (or their counsel) to make the necessary inquiries with Court Services Branch to ensure there are sufficient resources at the applicable court location for witnesses to appear remotely by video or audio conference, and to ensure that witnesses have the technology to appear remotely.

3. Courtroom Layout

The physical layout of the courtroom, including the position of counsel and the witness will be altered where possible to maintain a safe physical distance between all participants. Where physical distancing between all parties in the court can be achieved through the movement of furniture, plexiglass barriers will not be necessary. In areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained, barriers will be installed. The ability to move within the courtroom, such as by approaching a witness, will be restricted for physical distancing purposes.

Communication between counsel and parties

Counsel must consider how they intend to confer with co-counsel and their clients in the courtroom while maintaining a safe physical distance. Counsel should seek direction from the presiding Judicial Officer to communicate with co-counsel or their client by text message or another method that would not normally be acceptable in court.

Water

There will be no water jugs available in the courtroom during a proceeding. Counsel, parties, interpreters, and witnesses will be permitted to bring their own water in clear plastic bottles that are no larger than one litre in volume. Persons who bring their own water bottles should dispose of or remove them when leaving courtroom. Sheriffs will provide water for in custody accused.

Public and media

In order to maintain a safe physical distance in the public gallery between members of the media and public, the number of seats available will be reduced. If counsel or a party is aware of anyone who intends to observe all or part of the proceeding, they should advise those individuals that while the court remains open to the public, seating is limited, and entry into the courtroom will not be permitted if the safe physical distancing requirements cannot be maintained.

4. Facial Masks and Coverings

Participants in a proceeding, including counsel, parties and witnesses, are encouraged and permitted to wear a mask or protective face covering in the courtroom if they wish to do so, subject to direction from the Judicial Officer, if removal of a mask is necessary in order for the participant’s evidence or submissions to be heard and understood. Participants should be aware that the Judicial Officer, the sheriff, and the court clerk may or may not wear a mask in the courtroom.

5. Oaths or Affirmations

All witnesses testifying in court will presumptively affirm. If a witness wishes to give evidence under oath rather than by affirmation, they must bring a Bible or other religious book or sacred object to court, and take the article with them when leaving court. There will be no Bibles or other religious books available in the courtroom.

6. Documents, Exhibits, and Authorities

Pre-trial conferences will include a discussion about measures that can be taken to reduce the number of physical exhibits entered, including a discussion around whether documents can be provided electronically.

Any party needing to handle an exhibit can use tissues provided and/or use hand sanitizer after handling the exhibit. Gloves may also be available in some locations.

Counsel and self-represented parties must make every effort to limit documentary evidence and case authorities to those that are truly necessary. The Court has always discouraged the practice of filing binders of documents as exhibits that may not be referred to in evidence; that practice is particularly discouraged in the current circumstances. For books of authorities, counsel should include only those cases to which they need to, and will, refer.

Movement of documents and exhibits in the courtroom where unavoidable

Where the passing of copies of documents or physical exhibits to others in the courtroom is unavoidable, counsel and self-represented parties must use the hand sanitizer available in the courtroom to sanitize their hands before and after handling the documents. In addition to hand sanitizer, there may be a supply of gloves in the courtroom for anyone who wishes to use them, as well as instructions for the safe use, removal, and disposal of gloves.

In order to maintain a safe physical distance between counsel, the court clerk, and the witness, documents and exhibits should be placed on the document table before the court clerk and the Judicial Officer enter the courtroom. Where this is not possible or appropriate, at the time a document or exhibit is to be handed up, counsel or self-represented parties must place it on a document table and then return to counsel table at which point the court clerk will pick it up and hand it to the Judicial Officer or witness.

7. Cleaning and Sanitation

Government has retained additional daytime cleaning services during this COVID-19 period to ensure that the high touch areas in courtrooms and courthouse are cleaned frequently.

The courtroom will be cleaned at the end of each court day, including the witness box, accused box, counsel tables, court clerk desk, the judicial bench, public seating areas, and all other areas of the courtroom where people sit. A porter will clean and disinfect all touchpoints after each user (witness, accused, counsel, party, clerk, and Judicial Officer).

A courtroom attendant will wipe down the witness box, including the microphone, horizontal surfaces of the stand, armrests, and handrails after each witness finishes their testimony and at the end of each court day.

In order to facilitate the cleaning of counsel tables, the court requests that counsel who are appearing over multiple days on a particular matter remove their materials from the courtroom each night. If this is not possible or practical (e.g., because of the volume of materials), counsel should pack up their materials into boxes and store them underneath the counsel table.

Hand sanitizer will be available at the judicial bench, counsel tables, the witness stand, and the clerk’s desk. All people attending court will be expected to use hand sanitizer frequently and will be required to apply sanitizer upon their entry to the courtroom.

For more information and details about cleaning protocols, please refer to the Ministry of Attorney General’s webpage.

8. Steps being taken to reduce the number of people attending court

As of July 13, 2020, Provincial Court registries are accepting all filings at the applicable court registry either in-person or remotely (by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries under GEN 01 Practice Direction, or using Court Services Online where available). To protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options wherever possible.

Counsel attendance at court should be limited to those counsel who are appearing on a matter scheduled in court that day, where something substantive is happening. Counsel are encouraged to connect with witnesses and clients in advance of attending at the courthouse to ensure that the matter will proceed on the date scheduled, and that all of the court participants are not exhibiting any symptoms associated with COVID-19. If the matter will not be proceeding, please contact the Judicial Case Manger immediately to advise them. If the only purpose is to adjourn a matter to another date, neither counsel nor their client should attend court. Rather, in these circumstances, please see,for example:

for the processes to adjourn matters remotely. Counsel are also encouraged to obtain a designation of counsel on all indictable offences.

The Judicial Case Manager’s offices operate on a remote basis only at this time.

Public listening stations are not currently available in court registries. Members of the public, including journalists who are not accredited, may be able to receive a copy of an audio CD in accordance with the Access to Court Records Policy.

History of Notice to the Profession and Public

Melissa Gillespie
Chief Judge
Provincial Court of British Columbia

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Effective Date: 13 July 2020
NP 14

The following are the duties, classes of cases or matters to which Court Services Justices of the Peace (JPs) are assigned:

  1. a. All matters relating to receiving informations.
    b. Issuing process compelling the attendance of a person except:
    1. Private informations pursuant to s. 507.1 of the Criminal Code;
    2. Where such process requires a warrant or authorization to enter a dwelling house, premises or other place;
    3. Subpoenas requiring opposing counsel to give evidence.
  2. a. Consent remand(s) of persons in custody pursuant to s. 516 of the Criminal Code where the accused is represented. This assignment does not include making no contact orders under s. 516(2) of the Criminal Code.
    b. All matters relating to voluntary appearances on unexecuted small claims warrants of arrest issued under Small Claims Rule 14(6) and releases of persons arrested on warrants issued under Provincial Court (Family) Rule 6(13), Provincial Court (Adult Guardianship) Rule 3(8), and Family Maintenance Enforcement Act, s. 23(6).
    c. Where a youth court judge is not reasonably available, giving directions regarding the giving of notice pursuant to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), s. 26(5) (as connected with any youth bail); and adjourning proceedings or dispensing with notice pursuant to YCJA, s. 26(10).
  3. All matters relating to the approval of sureties, the perfection of bail, and the rendering of an adult or youth by a surety or responsible person under s. 766, 767, or 767.1 of the Criminal Code or s. 31(5) of the YCJA.
  4. a. Orders for the initial detention of seized items and further orders for detention of seized items, where the application is uncontested.
    b. Orders for the return or forfeiture of seized items where application is made by a prosecutor, peace officer or other person having custody of the items seized and there is no dispute or uncertainty as to the lawful owner or the lawful owner is unknown.
  5. Applications for time to pay or extensions of time to pay unless otherwise ordered by a provincial court judge. A JP who can grant time to pay can also issue a warrant of committal for a person who voluntarily chooses to serve time in custody rather than pay.
  6. Adjournments (i) in the context of performing assigned duties or (ii) on the direction of a judge (and where jurisdiction to grant adjournments is given to a judge or the court under an enactment, authorization is given pursuant to s. 31(1) of the Provincial Court Act to exercise all the powers and jurisdiction of the court with respect to adjournments).
  7. When exercising the functions of a CSB trial scheduler, fixing of dates for preliminary inquiry, trial, hearing, conference or other proceeding.
  8. Receiving oaths, affirmations, affidavits and declarations as required by federal or provincial Evidence Acts or otherwise by law.
  9. Desk Orders for Accredited Journalists, who are provided audio recordings of Court proceedings on removable media (such as compact disk) pursuant to the Access to Court Records Policy or by file transfer protocol pursuant to NM 01 Accredited Media Access to Provincial Court Proceedings during COVID-19.
  10. Where approved by the Chief Judge, and as required for backup coverage of Judicial Case Managers, any matter that a Judicial Case Manager is assigned to perform.
  11. Applications by mail to unseal an applicant’s own adult criminal pardoned or suspended files for travel purposes.

History of Notice to the Profession and Public

  • Original Notice to the Profession and Public issued on August 22, 2018 and effective October 1, 2018 (removes from previous Assignment: (i) “all matters involving judicial interim release that are uncontested as to release and the form and conditions of release including uncontested variations of existing release orders and making a detention order where counsel consent”; and (ii) making a no contact order under s. 516(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada where the accused is represented and by consent).
  • Amended Notice to the Profession and Public issued on November 27, 2018 and effective December 1, 2018 (adds “Applications by mail to unseal an applicant’s own adult criminal pardoned or suspended files for travel purposes”).
  • Amended Notice to the Profession and Public effective July 13, 2020 (adds “Family Maintenance Enforcement Act, s. 23(6)” to para. 2b and adds “or by file transfer protocol pursuant to NM 01 Accredited Media Access to Provincial Court Proceedings during COVID-19” to para. 9).

Melissa Gillespie
Chief Judge
Provincial Court of British Columbia

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As of July 13, 2020, Provincial Court registries will be accepting all filings at the applicable court registry either in-person or remotely (by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries under GEN 01 Practice Direction, or using Court Services Online where available). NP 19 COVID-19: Resumption of Further Court Operations will be updated accordingly. To protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options wherever possible.

The Court will post further information as it becomes available, so please continue to check our website at www.provincialcourt.bc.ca and follow us on Twitter @BCProvCourt.

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The BC Provincial Court sits in many court locations in the province. Currently, we are working with government and in some cases, local communities, to have the consultant that government has retained view the circuit courts and make recommendations about what steps need to be taken to make those courts safe and accessible to members of the public.

Once the consultant has viewed those court locations, we will work with government to implement the recommended changes so that existing matters can be heard in those locations in a timely way. In some locations this work has been completed and in-person hearings are noted below.

In other locations when the circuit courts have been modified to address COVID related concerns, including ensuring that physical distancing can be maintained, they will be opened and scheduled matters will proceed. Until these circuit courts have been re-opened, matters on the circuit court list locations will be heard on the day they are scheduled by audioconference. Either the audioconference information or the contact information for the Registry to obtain call in details is listed beside each Court location.

Counsel are encouraged to use the Consent Requisition or Consent Arraignment forms to have files removed from the list prior to the scheduled court date if nothing substantial will occur on that date. We have attached a list below of the Judicial Case Managers and the circuit courts they are responsible for scheduling.

If you require legal assistance with your matter, you may contact Legal Aid at 1-866-577-2525.

Download a PDF of this Notice

1. ADJOURNED MATTERS

Matters currently scheduled in Creston, Fernie, Invermere and New Aiyansh for the dates in the table immediately below are adjourned until the “adjourned to” date without the parties having to attend Court. A party or counsel may contact the Judicial Case Manager at the applicable court location prior to the “adjourned to” date and arrange to have the Court determine, by telephone, whether the matter is urgent.

COURT LOCATION IF YOUR MATTER WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR… YOUR MATTER IS ADJOURNED TO...
Creston July 9, 2020 August 7, 2020
Fernie July 23, 2020 September 1, 2020
Invermere July 7, 2020 July 27, 2020
New Aiyansh July 6, 2020 September 14 ,2020

2. MATTERS SCHEDULED

Matters currently scheduled on the dates and in the locations set out below will be heard on the day they were originally scheduled either in-person or, alternatively, by audioconference.

INTERIOR
REGION
COURT
LOCATION
DATE MATTERS SCHEDULED JUDICIAL CASE MANAGER CONTACT YOUR MATTER WILL BE HEARD.... IF YOUR MATTER WILL BE HEARD BY AUDIO CONFERENCE PLEASE CONTACT THE COURT REGISTRY FOR DIAL IN INFORMATION IN ADVANCE OF THE SCHEDULED DATE
Golden July 14 EKootenays.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
In-person not applicable
Invermere July 14, 15, and 16 EKootenays.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
In-person not applicable
Lillooet July 14, 15, and 16 Kamloops.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-828-4344
Merritt July 7, 8, 9, 10 Kamloops.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-828-4344
Princeton July 7, 8 and 9 Penticton.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-492-1231
Revelstoke July 7, 8 and 9 Vernon.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-832-1610

 


NORTHERN
REGION
COURT
LOCATION
DATE
MATTERS
SCHEDULED
JUDICIAL
CASE
MANAGER
CONTACT
YOUR MATTER WILL BE HEARD.... IF YOUR MATTER WILL BE HEARD BY AUDIO CONFERENCE PLEASE CONTACT THE COURT REGISTRY FOR DIAL IN INFORMATION IN ADVANCE OF THE SCHEDULED DATE (UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED BELOW)
100 Mile House July 7 Cariboo.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference You do not need to call the registry, you can use the following link on the scheduled date: +1 604-335-9540 Canada, Vancouver (Toll) (844) 884-5561 Canada (Toll-free) Conference ID: 957 944 071#
Burns Lake July 14, 15,
and 16
Smithers.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
In-person not applicable
Chetwynd July 9 Peace.District.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference You do not need to call the registry, you can use the following link on the scheduled date: +1 604-335-9540 Canada, Vancouver (Toll) (844) 884-5561 Canada (Toll-free) Conference ID: 541 230 15#
Fort St. James July 15
and 16
PG.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-614-2700
Hazelton July 7 to 9 Smithers.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-847-7376
Houston July 13 Smithers.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-847-7376
Kitimat July 9 Terrace.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference You do not need to call the registry, you can use the following link on the scheduled date: +1 604-335-9540 Canada, Vancouver (Toll) (844) 884-5561 Canada (Toll-free) Conference ID: 495 017 451#
Vanderhoof July 6, 7 PG.Scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference You do not need to call the registry, you can use the following link on the scheduled date: +1 604-335-9540 Canada, Vancouver (Toll) (844) 884-5561 Canada (Toll-free) Conference ID: 903 810 115#
VANCOVER ISLAND
COURT
LOCATION
DATE
MATTERS
SCHEDULED
JUDICIAL
CASE
MANAGER
CONTACT
YOUR MATTER WILL BE HEARD.... IF YOUR MATTER WILL BE HEARD BY AUDIO CONFERENCE PLEASE CONTACT THE COURT REGISTRY FOR DIAL IN INFORMATION IN ADVANCE OF THE SCHEDULED DATE (UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED BELOW)
Ganges July 17 dun.scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-746-1258
Tofino July 6 PortAlberni.scheduling
@provincialcourt.bc.ca
By audio conference 250-720-2424

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE, AND ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

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Date Issued: 02 July, 2020
Effective Date: 02 July 2020
FAM 08

PRACTICE DIRECTION

EARLY RESOLUTION PROCESS AND EXPEDITED COURT PROCESS TO CHANGE OR
SUSPEND CHILD OR SPOUSAL SUPPORT DUE TO COVID-19

Purpose & Application

The purpose of this Practice Direction is to set out the early resolution process and expedited court process that is available (but not required) for a party who is only seeking a suspension or change to an existing agreement or Provincial Court order about child support or spousal support as a result of a change in income since January 2020 that is related to COVID-19.

For all other relief (including relief for outstanding arrears prior to January 2020) or counterclaims not related to the above, parties may make an application in the normal course on July 8, 2020 when Provincial Court registries are able to accept new family filings.

This practice direction applies to all court registries in the Province. Variations in process at the Victoria registry, due to the Victoria Early Resolution and Case Management Model, are noted under section 4 below.

Direction

  1. Effective July 2, 2020 until further direction, the early resolution and expedited court process set out here may be used by parties seeking a suspension or change to an existing agreement or Provincial Court order about child support or spousal support as a result of a change in income since January 2020 related to COVID-19.
  2. Early Resolution Process
    1. How to begin (Intake)
      1. Contact the Family Justice Services Division (Family Justice Services) to schedule your individual needs assessment interview at:
      1. Complete an individual needs assessment with Family Justice Services by telephone or videoconference to identify: the issue(s) that need to be resolved; and determine whether the dispute resolution process is appropriate.
        1. Parties may also receive referrals to legal advice and other community supports.
        2. .A party may be contacted by Family Justice Services if someone else completed the form and named them in the form.
      2. Complete the “Notice of Intention to Change Existing Child or Spousal Support Due to COVID-19 Income Change” form and provide a copy to Family Justice Services and all other parties as noted on the form.
    2. Participation In Dispute Resolution Process
      1. If it is determined that participation in the Dispute Resolution Process is appropriate during the intake process, the parties may participate in a process which may include: mediation with a family justice counsellor, family law mediator, a collaborative family law process, or facilitated negotiation with a child support officer.
      2. Each party must provide financial information as required by Family Justice Services or the dispute resolution professional.
      3. If the parties reach an agreement,Family Justice Services or the dispute resolution professional involved may assist the parties to draft a variation of an existing written agreement which can be filed with the court for enforcement purposes; or assist the parties to apply to the court for a consent variation of an existing court order.
      4. If the parties do not reach an agreement but at least one party has completed a needs assessment interview, the matter may proceed to the expedited court process set out below.
      5. Family Justice Services will complete the bottom of the “Notice of Intention to Change Existing Child or Spousal Support Due to COVID-19 Income Change” form to indicate that one or all of the parties have completed an individual needs assessment interview.
  3. Expediated Court Process
    1. The party must submit the following forms required for court to the Pre-court Case Management Service (PCCM) which can be reached by telephone (604-660-2528 or Toll free 1-866-660-2684) or by email at pccm@gov.bc.ca:
    2. PCCM will review to ensure documents are complete. Once completed, PCCM will file the documents with the court for the party by emailing the documents to the applicable registry.
    3. The party must serve a copy of each of the documents on all other parties to the order or agreement.
    4. The party filing a reply must submit their documents to PCCM, which can be reached by telephone (604-660-2528 or Toll free 1-866-660-2684) or by email at pccm@gov.bc.ca. PCCM will review to ensure documents are complete. Once completed, PCCM will file the documents with the court for the party by emailing the documents to the applicable registry.
      1. See the Provincial Court (Family) Rules regarding documents that need to be filed, which may include a Financial Statement.
    5. A hearing will be scheduled after a reply has been filed, or the reply period has passed and proof of service has been filed.
    6. Each party may be required to provide additional financial information as required by the court.
    7. In some situations, such as where there is corporate income, previously imputed income, or lack of adequate financial information, an Amicus (legal counsel who is not counsel for a party but who assists the court) may review the filed material and speak to it in court. Parties will be advised whether they can expect Amicus to assist the court with their matter prior to the hearing.
    8. These matters will be heard by telephone or videoconference unless a judge orders otherwise.

      Note: When applying to court to vary a child support order, the requirement to complete the Parenting After Separation Program and to file a certificate of completion with the court registry still applies for the following court locations: Abbotsford, Campbell River, Chilliwack, Courtenay, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Prince George, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver (Robson Square) and Vernon. If you have already completed the program in the 24 months prior to filing the application, you may be exempt from this requirement. (See Provincial Court (Family) Rules, Rule 21).
  4. Victoria Registry (only)
    Variations in process at the Victoria registry, due to the Victoria Early Resolution and Case Management Model, are noted here.
    1. Early Resolution Process
      1. Complete and file the “Notice to Resolve a Family Law Matter” form to enter into the process (not the “Notice of Intention to Change Existing Child or Spousal Support Due to COVID-19 Income Change”form).
      2. FMEP clients must provide a copy of the “Notice to Resolve a Family Law Matter” form to their enforcement officer.
      3. Each party must meet the early resolution requirements as set out in the Provincial Court (Family) Rules Appendix B, Part 2.
    2. Expedited Court Process
      1. If, after having met the early resolution requirements, a court proceeding is required to change the support order or agreement,the party must submit the following documents to PCCM,which can be reached by telephone (604-660-2528 or Toll free 1-866-660-2684) or by email at pccm@gov.bc.ca,and serve a copy on each other party of the following documents found under “Early Resolution and Case Management Registry Forms (only in the Victoria court registry)”:
      2. FMEP clients must also provide a copy of the documents to their enforcement officer as required by the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act.

History of Practice Direction

  • Original practice direction effective July 02, 2020.

I make this practice direction pursuant to my authority under the Provincial Court Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 379 and Rule 8(11) of the Provincial Court (Child, Family and Community Services Act) Rules, B.C. Reg. 533/95.

Melissa Gillespie
Chief Judge
Provincial Court of British Columbia

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Effective Date: 02 July 2020 (unless otherwise stated in this Notice)
NP 19 (New additions in red)

NOTICE TO THE PROFESSION AND PUBLIC

COVID-19: RESUMPTION OF FURTHER COURT OPERATIONS

The Provincial Court of British Columbia recognizes that the Province is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chief Public Health Officers of Canada and the Province still require people to keep a safe distance from each other, but currently there can be a cautious reopening of public places with health and safety protocols in place to minimize the transmission of the virus. Taking this into account, the Provincial Court has developed the plan set out in this Notice to resume further court operations.

As of June 8, 2020, the Provincial Court has resumed in-person proceedings in two courtrooms in each of the following six locations: Surrey, 222 Main Street (Vancouver), Robson Square (Vancouver), Victoria, Prince George, and Kelowna. As of June 15, 2020, the Provincial Court opened one courtroom for in-person appearances in each of the 28 locations listed in Appendix “D”. For most cases, the processes set out in this Notice, including remote proceedings, will continue.

Criminal, family, small claims, and youth court trials and hearings scheduled after July 3, 2020 will remain on the trial list on the date scheduled. Counsel and self-represented litigants should attend court on the date scheduled at 9:00AM to advise if they are ready to proceed that day. The Court will determine which trials will proceed. Witnesses and parties represented by counsel are to wait outside the courthouse (within a 30 minute distance) and be prepared to be called to attend court. Criminal trials, preliminary inquiries and continuations of trials and preliminary inquiries (excluding summary proceedings court files) that are not able to proceed due to lack of court time or are otherwise adjourned will be scheduled for a pre-trial conference before a new hearing date is scheduled. Family and small claims case conferences will proceed by audio or videoconference on their scheduled dates.

The Provincial Court initially instituted the Hub Court model to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Hub Courts acted as Regional locations for the Court to conduct remote proceedings, as there have been few in person proceedings conducted. As the Court opens more courtrooms, particularly in larger court locations, to accommodate in person proceedings where it is safe to do so, the Court will no longer be relying on the Hub Court model. However, bail hearings, urgent family applications, pre-trial conferences, and other case conferences may be heard remotely by a judge in a location outside the court location where the matter originates in order to enhance efficiency.

The directions in this Notice are subject to change as circumstances of the pandemic change.

Download this Notice to the Profession and Public.

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In Part V of the Provincial Court’s Notice to the Profession and Public 19: Resumption of Further Court Operations,all traffic matters with hearings previously scheduled for March 18, 2020 and thereafter were adjourned for rescheduling.

The Court is now ready to resume scheduling traffic hearings in some locations. A large number of people attend these hearings. In order to keep the public, court users, court staff,and judicial officers safe and physically distant while providing access to justice, the Court has worked together with Court Services Branch (including the Sheriff Service) and Corporate Management Services Branch to identify alternate hearing locations and/or alternate hearing times to accommodate people attending these hearings as follows:

Provincial Court Location Where Matter Originally Scheduled Hearing Location Date
Hearings Commence
Hearing Dates Hearing Times
Abbotsford Chilliwack University of the
Fraser Valley
July 13 Monday to Friday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Dawson Creek Dawson Creek
Provincial Court
Aug 17

Mon, Aug 17

Fri, Aug 21

9:30am - 4:30pm
Fort St. John Fort St. John
Provincial Court
Aug 18 Tue, Aug 18 - Thu, Aug 20 5:30pm - 9:00pm
Kamloops Kamloops
Provincial Court
July 11 Sat July 11, 18, & 25 9:30am - 4:30pm
Kelowna Kelowna
Provincial Court
July 13 Mon - Fri 5:30pm - 9:00pm
Prince George Prince George
Provincial Court
Aug 4

Tue, Aug 4 - Fri, Aug 7

Mon, Aug 10 - Fri, Aug 14

9:30am - 4:30pm
Richmond Robson Square Kitsilano
Secondary School
July 13 Mon - Fri 9:30am - 4:30pm
Surrey Kwantlen
Polytechnic University
July 13 Mon - Fri 9:30am - 4:30pm

All of these locations were assessed by an experienced professional consultantto ensure they meet the health and safety requirements established by the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC. This work was done in consultation with the judiciary and stakeholders. The health and safety protocols put in place are available on the Attorney General’s website. These locations will be configured to accommodate physical distancing, however, to assist with that distancing the Court asks that only counsel, parties, and witnesses involved in the hearings before the Court, as well as members of the accredited media, attend these hearings.

Parties will be sent a new notice of hearing that will include the date, time and location (including the address) of the hearing. Start times will be staggered so that all participants are not at the hearing location at the same time. Parties who receive a notice of hearing and require interpreter services for their hearing must contact the Violation Ticket Center at 1-877-661-8026 prior to their hearing date.

Anyone appearing for a hearing must be in full compliance with all of the Provincial Health Officer’s Orders or directions regarding COVID-19. The Court’s Notice to the Profession and Public 22: Resuming In-Person Proceedings During COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols applies to these hearings (with the exception that some parts of that Notice are specific to court locations such as the references to court registries). Participants should review NP 22 and should be aware of the following:

  • Those entering will be subject to a verbal screening process by the Sheriff Service.
  • Participants in a proceeding are encouraged and permitted to wear a mask or protective face covering in the courtroom if they wish to do so, subject to direction from the Judicial Officer, if removal of a mask is necessary in order for the participant’s evidence or submissions to be heard and understood. Participants should be aware that the Judicial Officer and the sheriff may or may not wear a mask.

Please continue to check our website as we are continuing to identify other locations in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in the Province to schedule traffic matters. Any further sites we locate will be subject to the same guidelines as set out in this Announcement

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Effective date: 12 June 2020
CRIM 13

PRACTICE DIRECTION

INITIAL APPEARANCE COURT DURING COVID-19

Purpose

Further to NP 19 Notice to the Profession and Public C0VID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations (Notice) the Provincial Court will be resuming initial appearance court (IAR) for criminal matters. At the same time, the Court remains mindful of the need to protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19, while maintaining meaningful access to the Court. The purpose of this Practice Direction is to set out some guidelines to govern the resumption of IAR while ensuring that people only come to IAR in-person when necessary.

Application

This practice direction applies as follows. The Notice was unclear about whether IAR matters scheduled from June 15 to July 3, 2020 were adjourned as set out in Appendix “A” to that Notice.

To clarify, for the Fraser, Interior, Northern, and Vancouver Regions, IAR will recommence at all reopened court locations effective June 15, 2020.

For the Vancouver Island Region, IAR will recommence at all reopened court locations effective July 6, 2020. If an individual has a matter scheduled in IAR from June 15 to July 3, 2020, they do not need to attend court and their matter will be adjourned as set out in Appendix “A” to that Notice.

Directions

Alternatives to in-person appearance

1. To reduce the number of people attending court, counsel attendance at court should be limited to appearing on a matter scheduled in court where something substantive is happening. Counsel must endeavor to avoid unnecessary personal attendances of the accused or counsel at the courthouse wherever possible.

2. The Consent Arraignment form (Form 4) may be used as an alternative to an in-person appearance for adult criminal matters for entering not guilty pleas, elections, as well as for setting dates for preliminary inquiries, trials, hearings and/or pre-trial conference (if the matter will require more than half day of court time).

3. If the only purpose is to adjourn a matter to another date, neither counsel nor their client should attend court. The Consent Requisition form (Form 1) may be used to: change, cancel or call-ahead a non-trial appearance; indicate a guilty plea; set a date for sentencing; or schedule an application before a judge.

To email any of these forms to the Court see the contact information for the applicable local JCM Office here or see Appendix “A” of the Notice for email contact information.

4. See CPD-1 and CRIM 08 for further information about these forms.

In Person Appearances

1. For those cases where in-person appearances are necessary, the following processes will apply.

2. Legal Aid:

  • Legal Aid BC (Legal Aid) intake workers will not be present at courthouses.
  • Where Legal Aid duty counsel is present at courthouses they will assist the accused. Assistance may include:
    1. describing the process;
    2. assisting the accused to connect with a lawyer;
    3. collecting contact information that will allow the lawyer and accused to connect; and,
    4. assisting to have the accused adjourned to another date.
  • The process by which the accused will be adjourned will depend on procedures determined at the applicable local court location.
  • It is not expected that files will be resolved on these appearances.

3. Duty counsel will not provide legal representation where counsel has already been retained, whether privately or through Legal Aid, unless specifically requested to do so by counsel and/or the accused.

4. At the accused’s first court appearance, an abbreviated disclosure package may be available at locations where Crown counsel are appearing in person. Full disclosure will subsequently be available electronically upon request to Crown counsel by counsel for the accused. Self-represented litigants will be requested to contact local Crown counsel offices by email or telephone to schedule the pickup of paper disclosure packages.

5. If the matter needs to be adjourned, it will generally be adjourned for at least six to eight weeks so that by the next court date, the accused is in a position to do something substantive such as fix a date for a trial or pre-trial conference or resolve the file.

6. Defence counsel, upon accepting a Legal Aid contract, must advise the Crown counsel office responsible for the prosecution that they are representing the accused. Defence counsel are encouraged to do so in writing.

7. Counsel must communicate with each other before any court appearance so that the appearance will result in something substantive happening. If not, counsel must adjourn the matter to another date without the parties having to attend court.

8. Court appearances are not required to obtain disclosure.

Pre-trial conferences

1. There will be mandatory pre-trial conferences before a judge for all initial appearance court matters that are being arraigned for more than a half day of court time in order to determine how the matter will proceed.

2. For further direction see: Criminal Practice Direction (CRIM 12): Criminal Pre-Trial Conferences During COVID-19.

History of Practice Direction

  • Original Practice Direction effective June 12, 2020.

I make this practice direction pursuant to my authority under the Provincial Court Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 379.

Melissa Gillespie
Chief Judge
Provincial Court of British Columbia

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Effective date: 12 June 2020
CRIM 08

CRIMINAL CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT RULES

SIMPLIFIED FRONT END PROCESS (2013)
FORMS AND PROCEDURE

NOTE THAT THESE FORMS ARE OPTIONAL FOR COUNSEL

COVID-19 Alert: The Judicial Case Manager’s office operates on a remote basis only at this time and documents should be sent by email. See the contact information for the applicable local JCM Office here or see Appendix “A” of the Notice (NP 19) for email contact information.

Accessing the Forms

The forms can be found on the Ministry of Attorney General, Criminal Court Forms website at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/courthouse-services/documents-formsrecords/court-forms/criminal-court-forms.

The Consent Requisition, Consent Remand and Consent Arraignment forms work with Adobe Reader 9.0 or higher. Adobe Reader can be downloaded without charge from the internet. Note that the forms are fillable and saveable.

Windows Internet Explorer 9 is best used to access the forms, although other web browsers (e.g. Google Chrome) may be used. Note that when using alternate web browsers it may be necessary to download the forms to be able to view and use them.

Signatures

Counsel (Crown and Defence) signatures are not required on the Consent Requisition, Consent Remand and Consent Arraignment forms.

Forms do not specify signature required. Counsel may sign if they wish to but still need to provide the printed names and contact information in the appropriate sections on the forms.

Email Submissions to the JCM

When submitting a form by email to the JCM, counsel are expected to copy opposing counsel so both will receive an email copy of the submitted form, and so the JCM can reply to all to provide confirmation to all counsel as to whether the form has been accepted.

When replying to an emailed form, JCMs will reply to all by email to inform all counsel whether the form has been accepted or not.

JCMs may reject the form for various reasons including an incomplete form or if received too late to process.

Consent Requisition, Consent Remand and Consent Arraignment forms – the Court will accept these completed forms by email, fax or in person to the JCM.

Deadline for Form Submissions

The Practice Direction indicates that the forms are to be submitted “no later than 12:00 noon of the business day prior to the scheduled appearance.” This is the absolute latest time. Note that local cut-off times may vary based on in-custody transport issues.

When to use Forms 

  Consent
Requisition
Consent
Remand
Consent
Arraignment
Consent Required Yes Yes Yes
For use by Defence, Crown Defence, Crown Crown
Signatures Required No No No
For Out-of-Court Use Yes Yes Yes
Submitted by parties to JCM Office JCM Office JCM Office

Form 1 - Consent Requisition

  • Not for use by self-represented litigants
  • Defence may appear as agent or designated counsel
  • Submit to JCM
  • To be used to change, cancel or call-ahead a non-trial appearance, indicate a guilty plea, set a date for sentencing or schedule an application before a judge
  • Used when a personal appearance is not required in court  Crown and Defence counsel agree to a return date, time, reason and method

Form 3 - Consent Remand

  • For use only on appearance date
  • Not for use by self-represented litigants
  • All counsel agree in-custody accused is not required to make an in-person appearance
  • Crown and Defence counsel agree to a return date, time, reason and method
  • Defence to appear as agent or designated counsel
  • Can be received by JCM 
  • NOT to be used to vary bail

Form 4 - Consent Arraignment

  • Not for use by self-represented litigants
  • For Adult Criminal matters only – not to be used for Youth matters
  • Defence to appear as agent or designated counsel
  • For use as an alternative to in-person appearance
  • If submitted and accepted prior to the pre-set arraignment event, JCM to vacate the future arraignment appearance
  • Used for entering not guilty plea, elections, setting dates for preliminary inquiries, trials, hearings and/or pre-trial conference (if matter will require more than half day of Court time)
  • For multi-accused files, separate forms must be prepared for each accused
  • For one accused with multiple Information numbers, separate forms must be used for each Information number sequence

History of Notice

  • Original notice dated December 01, 2013.
  • Amended notice dated February 23, 2015
    • Changes to formatting;
    • Title of notice changed from “Provincial Court Scheduling Project - Notes for Forms and Workflows - December 2013”; and
    • Numbered notice as CRIM 08.
  • Amended notice dated January 18, 2016
    • Expands the availability of Form 4 (CPD-1) Consent Arraignment for use in the Vancouver Island and Northern Regions, instead of Victoria and Western Communities only;
    • Adds “Consent Arraignment Workflow - Process for Counsel”;
    • Adds last bullet under heading “Form 4 - Consent Arraignment”; and
    • Changes title of first section from “Adobe Versions” to “Accessing the Forms” and adds paras. 1 and 3 to that section.
  • Amended notice issued on August 22, 2018 and effective October 1, 2018
    • Removes Form 2 (CPD-1) Applications to Vary Bail by Consent.
  • Amended June 12, 2020 to expand and revise the use of consent arraignment, consent remand and consent requisition forms.
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Effective Date: 12 June 2020
No. 2013/CPD-1

PRACTICE DIRECTION

CRIMINAL CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT RULES
SIMPLIFIED FRONT END CRIMINAL PROCESS (2013)

COVID-19 Alert: The Judicial Case Manager’s office operates on a remote basis only at this time and documents should be sent by email. See the contact information for the applicable local JCM Office here or see Appendix “A” of the Notice (NP 19) for email contact information.

Purpose

The Criminal Caseflow Management Rules (CCFM Rules) were first approved by OIC 1356/99 pursuant to section 482(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. The objectives of these rules included reducing time to trial, more effective use of judicial resources and increasing accessibility of the Court.

In 2012, the Court began the Provincial Court Scheduling Project which, in its first phase, focused on simplifying the front-end process. To support the changes, the CCFM Rules were amended in 2013, see OIC 484/2013. The Court continues to be committed to the efficient, effective and equitable use of judicial resources and the simplification of the process with the goals of improving accessibility and supporting the administration of justice in the province. The 2013 revisions reduce administrative processes by supporting the introduction of the new trial scheduling platform and allowing the Court to introduce new efficiencies to make the best use of judicial resources.

This Practice Direction supports the objectives of the 2013 revision to the rules and process. These directions will be interpreted in a manner consistent with the intention and spirit of the requirements of the Criminal Code of Canada and the CCFM Rules. I make the following Practice Direction pursuant to my authority under the Provincial Court Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 379, and Rule 3 of the CCFM Rules.

Download the Practice Direction.

 

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Further to the Provincial Court’s May 26 and May 29, 2020 Announcements, the following update ismade to Part V of NP 19 COVID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations.

V. TRAFFIC, TICKETOR BYLAW MATTERS

Traffic, ticket and bylaw matters, with hearings previously scheduled for March 18, 2020 and thereafter, are adjourned for rescheduling without the disputant having to attend Court. Parties will be senta new notice of hearing that will include the date, time and location of the hearing. The Court is in the process of developing these new dates, times and locations and will provide further information as soon as possible.

Disputants have the options of:

  1. Filing Written Reasons including a request for a fine reduction and/or time to pay
    (link to form: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/law-crime-and-justice/courthouse-services/court-files-records/court-forms/traffic/ptr022.pdf).
  2. Paying the fine(s) on the ticket

The timeline to pay fines related to a Provincial Court traffic, ticket, or bylaw case is extended to June 30, 2020.

To dispute a violation ticket and have a trial date assigned as a future available court date, the Disputant can download a form and mail it in to: Ticket Dispute Processing, Bag 3510, Victoria, B.C. V8W 3P7.

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In order to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, the Provincial Court of BC is holding urgent family, child protection, and small claims hearings by telephone instead of in person. We are also working towards being able to offer some hearings using video technology, when that is appropriate for the parties involved and their case.

The Court has issued guidelines for people taking part in telephone or video hearings, and this eNews explains some of the procedures a judge may use in these hearings.

Technology

We are now holding urgent hearings by telephone, but we are working on being able to hold video hearings as well, using Microsoft Teams. Once we have that capability and until in-person hearings can resume, the judge will decide whether to conduct your urgent hearing:

  • by telephone
  • using Microsoft Teams, an online platform for an audio hearing (sound only)
  • using Microsoft Teams for a video hearing (sound and video images)

In this article, we’ll use the term “remote” to refer to a hearing held in any of these ways.

The Court’s Guide to Remote Proceedings (telephone and video) NP21 contains advice on how to use your telephone for a hearing. It also contains a step-by-step guide to connecting and using Microsoft Teams (see Appendix “A”), for use once we begin conducting hearings this way.

Conduct expected

Everyone taking part in a telephone or video hearing should read the Court’s Guide to Remote Proceedings (telephone and video) NP21. It contains advice on etiquette and guidelines for taking part in a remote hearing.

Evidence

The evidence a judge will consider in a remote hearing will consist of any affidavits (written statements that are sworn or affirmed to be true) and other documents that have been filed (sent to the court), provided the judge considers them relevant to the issues in the hearing.

If you have provided an affidavit that has not been sworn or affirmed, the judge will probably ask you to swear or affirm that it is true during the hearing.

In some cases the judge will permit spoken testimony to be given during a remote hearing. That means a party or witness will take an oath or affirm to tell the truth and then talk about relevant facts. They may be questioned by their lawyer if they have one, the judge, and/or by the other party or their lawyer.

Procedure

When one or both parties are representing themselves, the judge may adjust traditional courtroom procedures to meet the needs of the people taking part and the limitations imposed by the telephone or video format.

If both parties have lawyers, the procedure may be more like a courtroom hearing. See these articles on family and small claims hearings for information on traditional courtroom procedures and how they are sometimes modified:

Whatever procedure is used, the hearing will have a structure to ensure it is fair, complete and orderly. The judge needs to get all the important information from both parties in a logical way.

A telephone or video hearing may include some or all of these steps. The judge may:

  • ask everyone taking part to introduce themselves, spell their first and last names, and confirm their mail and/or email address (If you have security concerns about revealing your address, tell the judge.)
  • ask if anyone other than the parties and their lawyers is present or listening (In a family court matter, children should not be able to hear any part of a remote hearing.)
  • confirm that no one is recording the hearing (You are not permitted to audio- or video-record any portion of a telephone hearing. The BC Courts’ Policy on the Use of Electronic Devices sets out penalties for recording, including prosecution. If you need a transcript of a hearing, it is possible to order one from the transcription service for your court registry.)
  • explain the procedure they intend to use and explain the order in which the parties or their lawyers will speak
  • impose time limits to ensure everyone has a chance to be heard during the time available
  • tell you which written materials they have received and will be considering (If the judge doesn’t mention this, you may ask.)
  • if anyone has filed an affidavit that has not been sworn or affirmed to be true, ask them to swear or affirm that it is true
  • if anyone will be testifying, ask them to swear or affirm that their evidence will be true, or ask the court clerk to have them swear or affirm
  • ask questions during the hearing to help them understand each party’s case
  • state their decision and explain it at the end of the hearing (In some cases, a judge may need more time to consider their decision. If so, they will tell you how you will receive their decision and reasons.)

Whatever procedure is used, each party will have a chance to speak, say what they’re asking for, and explain why. If there are important questions you think the other party should be asked, tell the judge. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may not permit the parties to question each other, but you can ask the judge to ask the other party important questions.

Province of BC
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From the Ministry of Attorney General

Working with the judiciary and other justice and public safety-sector stakeholders, government is moving to safely support increased in-person hearings.

“COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for court users and justice sector partners,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “Working with the judiciary, we are assessing courthouses to determine the best approach to protect the health of court users. Each courthouse is different, but this might mean measures such as marking floors to indicate distances in lines at registry, elevators, washrooms and inside courtrooms, and disinfecting courtrooms after use.”

Courthouses and courtrooms throughout the province are being assessed to ensure they meet the health and safety requirements established by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC. Assessments will also determine what additional physical distancing and hygiene measures will be required to stop the transmission of COVID-19, prior to resuming in-person appearances. Plans may differ by location and courthouse configuration.

As part of these assessments, additional health and safety measures being considered include, but are not limited to:

  • reconfiguring and removing furniture to open space in courtrooms and to keep people physically distant from one another;
  • adjusting maximum occupant levels to account for physical distancing requirements;
  • marking floors to indicate the directional flow of movement and places to stand while maintaining appropriate physical distancing at the registry, in elevators and washrooms, and inside courtrooms and courthouses;
  • posting clear and visible signage throughout the courthouse and courtrooms to ensure court personnel and users are aware of and are able to follow health and safety protocols;
  • verbally screening court personnel and users for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure prior to entering court environments;
  • establishing protocols for handling documents and evidence;
  • installing hand sanitizer stations at courthouse entrances, outside courtrooms and in elevator lobbies;
  • placing hand sanitizer bottles in courtrooms at the dais, counsel desks, the witness stand and the clerk's desk;
  • disinfecting courtrooms after use; and
  • frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces in courtrooms and in public areas throughout the courthouses.

The ministry is in the process of meeting with stakeholders, including judges, counsel, court managers and others, to make recommendations and implement changes necessary to keep the public safe when attending court. 

This work is occurring now, with the expectation that within the next few weeks, a limited number of courtrooms will be available throughout the province for in-person hearings

The ministry has also been working to increase technology enhancements outlined in the Court Digital Transformation Strategy. This includes continued expansion of technology for virtual hearings in cases where it is deemed appropriate.

In addition, the Province has also established two advisory groups to help government support courts and tribunals in delivering services as effectively as possible during the pandemic, and in minimizing its impact on the justice system.

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ORDER OF THE MINISTER OF
PUBLIC SAFETY AND SOLICITOR GENERAL

Emergency Program Act

Ministerial Order No. M162

WHEREAS a declaration of a state of emergency throughout the whole of the Province of British Columbia was declared on March 18, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic;

AND WHEREAS individuals in British Columbia must be able to make enduring powers of attorney and representation agreements in a manner that reduces the threat of COVID-19 to the health and safety of persons;

AND WHEREAS section 10 (1) of the Emergency Program Act provides that I may do all acts and implement all procedures that I consider necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of any emergency or disaster;

I, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, order that the attached Electronic Witnessing of Enduring Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements (COVID-19) Order is made.

Download the Ministerial Order.

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ORDER OF THE MINISTER OF
PUBLIC SAFETY AND SOLICITOR GENERAL

Emergency Program Act

Ministerial Order No. M161

WHEREAS a declaration of a state of emergency throughout the whole of the Province of British Columbia was declared on March 18, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic;

AND WHEREAS individuals in British Columbia must be able to make wills in a manner that reduces the threat of COVID-19 to the health and safety of persons;

AND WHEREAS section 10 (1) of the Emergency Program Act provides that I may do all acts and implement all procedures that I consider necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of any emergency or disaster;

I, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, order that the attached Electronic Witnessing of Wills (COVID-19) Order is made.

Download the Ministerial Order

LAND TITLE AND SURVEY AUTHORITY (LTSA)
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In response to our customers’ feedback, the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) has updated the list of supporting documents for which a true copy may be used in place of the original document. True copies accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic now include:

  • Certificate of Vesting under section 262 of the Land Title Act. (May 15)
  • Provincial or Federal Transfer and Administration of Control (May 11)
  • Notice of Human Resource Facility Act signed under the direction or authority of the Minister (May 11)

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, current information about land title practice matters will be posted to our website at https://ltsa.ca/covid-19-resources and Twitter account @LTSABC.

The LTSA is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our employees and customers while ensuring our business operations continue as usual. Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

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In response to our customers’ feedback, and further to the guidance provided on March 26, 2020, the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) has updated the list of supporting documents for which a true copy may be used in place of the original document. True copies accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic now include:

  1. Form Y Owner Developers Notice of Different Bylaws
  2. Form W – Schedule of Voting Rights
  3. Affordable Housing Agreement

Minor changes have also been made to the Director’s E-Filing Directions.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, current information about land title practice matters will be posted to our website at ltsa.ca and Twitter account @LTSABC.

The LTSA is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our employees and customers while ensuring our business operations continue as usual. Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

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Following the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) announcement of March 31, PB 01-20 Process for Remote Witnessing of Affidavits for use in Land Title Applications has been revised to provide further direction on affidavits as supporting documents attached to a Declaration form.

Practice Bulletin 01-20 has been updated with the following revisions: 

  • Amended approvals to include the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia

  • Removed the certificate from paragraph 8 and amended and combined the content in paragraphs 8 and 9 to provide further direction on affidavits as supporting documents attached to a Declaration form